RWE Innogy to establish one of the biggest wood pellet plants in the South of US
RWE Innogy is to build a factory to produce biomass pellets in the southern part of the U.S. state of Georgia. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 750,000 tonnes, making it the biggest and most modern of its type in the world, the company says. Around 1.5 million metric tonnes of fresh wood are needed each year to produce 750,000 tonnes of pellets.
Carried out in collaboration with BMC Management AB, which specialises in the development of biomass manufacturing solutions and is based in Sweden, the total investment in the project is some Euro 20 million. The pellets are to be shipped to Europe from the port of Savannah. Pellets manufactured in the facility will initially be burnt in the existing power plants of Amer in the Netherlands, where currently already up to 30% of the hard coal has been replaced by solid biomass, mainly wood pellets. There are plans to expand the proportion of co-firing to up to 50%.
In the coming years, use of the pellets is to be extended to other pure biomass power plants and also to conventional power plant sites in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and the UK. Dr. Leonhard Birnbaum, board member of RWE AG said: “Through this investment, RWE has taken a strategically important step towards safeguarding the supply basis for the constantly growing biomass market in Europe. This is because we will be unable to achieve the targets for reducing CO2 emissions in Germany and Europe without biomass. But the European wood market will not be able to satisfy the demand in this fast growing sector on its own.”