b'U.S. GULF PORTS BENEFIT FROM GROWTH IN GLOBAL WOOD PELLET DEMANDCompanies from a diverse set of industries burn biomass as part of decarbonization efforts.by Peter Buxbaum, AJOTJuly 2023 | Published in AJOT Issue #754TheproductionofwoodpelletsisaCarolina, and Florida, which will add aroundregenerating at a rate sufficient to increase growth industry in the southern part of the2.7 million metric tons of capacity whenits overall volume of wood fiber. With for-UnitedStates,providingproducersandtheyarecompleted.Otherregionalproj- ests growing at this rate, he said, they nearby ports along the Gulf of Mexico withects, by the UK-based Drax, in Alabama andrecapturethecarbonemittedbyburning a steady stream of business. According toArkansas,willaddanadditional200,000woodpelletsoranyotherwood-based the U.S Department of Agricultures Foreigntons of capacity. energy feedstocks within a year. AgriculturalService,thevalueofwoodBurningwoodpelletscontributestoEnviva Plant Expansionpelletexportsinthefirstsevenmonthsdecarbonization in an unusual way. Burn-of 2023 grew by 13% while volumes grewing wood pellets releases carbon dioxideThelargestoftheprojectsunderway by 4.6%, compared to the same period ininto the atmosphere, said Puneet Dwivedi,to expand pellet capacity in the South is 2022.ElsewhereinNorthAmerica,itsassociate professor of Forest Sustainabil- Envivas plant in Epes, Alabama, located at worth noting, similar growth is also beingity Sciences at the University of Georgia.a former Mannington Mills wood flooring seen in British Columbia. But these emissions are recovered withinplant. Construction on the plant, which is The reason for the surge: sustainabilitya year by the new growth on those forest- expected to be the largest fuel pellet man-efforts in industries as diverse as powerlands that are supporting the continuousufacturing plant in the world, began in July andheatgeneration,cementproduction,production of wood pellets. This creates an2022 and is slated to add its full 1.1 million andsustainableaviationfuelhavecom- overall low-emission electricity generationtons of capacity in 2025. panies on the lookout for fuels that allowsystem.Onestudyestimatedthatbio- Favorablelogisticswasoneofthe them to decarbonize. Burning wood pelletsmassorganic matter such as wood usedfactors which made the project attractive allows them to do thatalthough not in theas fuelfrom the U.S. Southeast reducesforEnviva,accordingtothecompanys same way as other alternative fuels and notcarbon intensity by 77% compared to burn- president,ThomasMeth.Theplantwill without some controversy. ing coal under some conditions. use barges to carry the pellets 200 miles Enviva,aMaryland-basedproducerofSomedetractorscontendthatwoodydown the Tombigbee River to Envivas new wood pellets with ten existing plants, andbiomassismorecarbon-intensivethanterminal at the Port of Pascagoula, Missis-the largest producer in the country, has fivefossilfuels.Tocounterthatargument,sippi, from there to be shipped to overseas new pellet plants or expansions under con- Dwivediexplainedthat,forthepast50customers. structioninAlabama,Mississippi,Northyears, forests in the Southeast have beenPellets produced at the Epes plant will 40'