Drax To Develop $40 Million Bio Pellet Plant In Arkansas
Drax Group, a sustainable biomass production and supply company, will begin constructing the first of three new “satellite” pellet plants in Arkansas, the company announced today.
The three plants are together expected to produce around 120,000 metric tons of sustainable biomass pellets a year from sawmill residues, supporting the renewable energy company’s plans to increase self-supply to its power station in the U.K.
Drax will begin construction of the first plant later this month near a West Fraser sawmill in Leola, Grant County – with commissioning expected in October. The company will begin construction on two more plants in other locations in the coming months. In total, Drax will invest $40 million in the state, creating approximately 30 new direct jobs and many more indirect jobs across three Arkansas communities.
Drax has transformed its power station in the U.K. to become the largest decarbonization project in Europe by converting it to use sustainable biomass instead of coal.
The development of the “satellite” pellet plants is part of Drax’s strategy to increase biomass self-supply to five million tons by 2027, improving supply chain resilience while reducing pellet costs.
The Leola “satellite” pellet plant is expected to produce around 40,000 metric tons of sustainable biomass pellets a year. Drax will also utilize the sawdust and other dry residual materials, which are by-products created when timber is processed, at West Fraser’s facility.
“Drax’s ambitious company vision combined with the renowned tenacity and loyalty of Arkansans make this partnership an excellent match,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “I am confident that this investment will benefit both the company and our communities for years to come.”
By co-locating the pellet facilities with sawmills, Drax will benefit from lower infrastructure, operational, and transportation costs.
Drax owns and has interests in 17 other pellet plants and development projects across the U.S. and South and Western Canada.
The company will host job fairs to recruit for positions at the Leola site later this month.