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Biofuel Firm to Open $70M Pellet Plant in US

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Four sugar mills will supply Delta Biofuels with residual sugarcane fiber, or bagasse, to produce the pellets at the location.

Renewable fuel firm Delta Biofuel is evaluating a location in Louisiana to open a new $70 million wood pellet plant, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and the firm’s CEO Philip Keating announced Monday. The company is considering Iberia Parish, LA as the location for the planned facility.

If the company selects the site, the plant will make biomass fuel pellets from residual sugarcane fiber, also known as bagasse. The project will also create 126 new direct jobs with an average salary of $62,500 plus benefits.

“Renewable energy is a key component in reaching environmental protection targets, and Louisiana looks forward to welcoming the latest renewable fuel investment, Delta Biofuel,” Gov. Edwards said in a release. “Working in tandem with our sugar mills, Delta plans to turn previously discarded waste into a source of energy.”

The company said it has locked down long-term supplies of feedstock bagasse. Pellets made from the material can be used with traditional industrial wood pellets in power generation applications. Bagasse pellets are cheaper and can offer a greater reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) compared to their wood-based alternatives, according to Delta Biofuel.

Four sugar mills in Iberia, St. Mary, and St. Martin parishes will supply excess bagasse to the new facility. Delta Biofuel also has worked to secure multi-year fuel pellet purchase agreements with European and Asian energy production plants.

“Our bagasse pellet manufacturing plant will provide a sustainable, long-term solution for the sugar mills by utilizing all excess bagasse produced each harvest. This will not only reduce cost and liability for the mills, but will eliminate methane emissions from the discarded bagasse that you can see in huge piles around the state,” said Keating in a statement. “These pellets are then delivered to power generation facilities, which produce renewable electricity. We see Louisiana and its sugar industry as a terrific and reliable source of biomass for alternative fuel production.”

The Louisiana site will be located on a 16-acre greenfield site near US Highway 90 in Jeanerette, LA, which is near Enterprise Sugar Mill, a supplier of bagasse. Work on the facility is expected to commence this September and reach completion in September 2022.

Delta Biofuel is part of Tasso Renewable Energy.

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