Gloster, MS – Nestled among thousands of acres of working forests, Drax Biomass today opened its Amite BioEnergy facility to members of the community and news media for a first-hand look at this state-of-the-art pellet manufacturing plant.
Commissioned in 2015, the facility produces compressed wood pellets from sustainably sourced wood for use as a low-carbon alternative to coal.
Drax Group CEO Dorothy Thompson and Drax Biomass CEO Pete Madden welcomed state and local elected officials, members of the Mississippi Forestry Commission and community members from across the region for a facility tour and business update.
“Gloster sits at the heart of an ambitious effort to demonstrate how biomass in the form of compressed wood pellets can help meet the world’s growing demand for renewable, low-carbon electricity,” said Dorothy Thompson.
“The working forests around Amite BioEnergy provide a steady supply of low-value wood that we convert into pellets and then transport to the United Kingdom for use at Drax Power Station, a pioneer in the transition from coal to renewable energy.”
Since announcing plans to build the Amite BioEnergy facility in Gloster in 2012, Drax Biomass has had a positive impact on the local economy. The plant maintains 56 full-time employees and supports approximately 175 additional employees across the logging, hauling and transportation sectors. The company has also given a boost to local landowners by providing a new market for low-value wood, such as the thinnings that are periodically removed from working forests to promote growth among the remaining trees.
“We’re proud of the role played by Drax Biomass in the region’s forestry sector,” said Pete Madden.
“By creating a strong market for low-value and underutilized wood, we’re promoting investment in sustainable land management practices that will ensure these working forests remain healthy and productive for generations to come.”
The Amite BioEnergy facility is capable of producing 450,000 metric tons of pellets each year from locally-sourced southern yellow pine. The finished pellets are transported to Drax Biomass’s storage and processing facility along the Mississippi River at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge. From the Port, the pellets are then loaded onto highly-efficient cargo vessels for shipment to the United Kingdom, part of a world-class supply chain designed to safely and reliably deliver pellets to the Drax Power Station with minimal environmental impact.
Visitors to today’s open house were treated to a tour of the plant, where they viewed the manufacturing process from start to finish: beginning with the arrival of truckloads of southern yellow pine thinnings at the weigh station, and moving through the chipping, screening, drying, shredding and pelletizing processes.
Drax Biomass Inc. is a manufacturer of compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA with operations across the Southeastern US, we employ innovative manufacturing techniques to produce high quality pellets that can be shipped safely and efficiently around the world for use as a renewable, low-carbon fuel. Our pellets allow electric utilities to reduce their dependence on coal, lower carbon emissions and provide new sources of safe, reliable and affordable power. Led by an experienced team of operations professionals, Drax Biomass is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate by promoting sustainable forestry and investing in local economic development.
Drax Biomass in part of the Drax Group plc. Drax is an innovative energy company that owns and operates the UK’s largest power station in Selby, North Yorkshire, typically providing some 8% of the UK’s electricity. A vital strategic asset, the Group has transformed itself into a predominantly biomass-fueled electricity generator through its use of innovative technology and sustainably sourced wood pellets. The largest decarbonisation project in Europe is underway to provide the UK with cost effective, low carbon, and reliable renewable power. The Group employs around 1,400 people and also includes:
Haven Power, the Group’s retail arm, providing business electricity contracts that are simple, flexible and designed to customers’ specific requirements.
Billington Bioenergy, is one of the leading distributors of wood pellets for sustainable heating in the UK.