Atlanta firm plans wood pellet mill in Edgefield County, S.C.



Atlanta-based Enova Energy Group is planning a $110 million wood pellet-processing plant near Trenton, S.C., to manufacture fuel for export overseas.

The project, which will take a year to build, will require 100 to 150 acres and create 60 to 70 permanent jobs, said Ben Easterlin, the company’s senior vice president of development and operations.

Construction is scheduled to begin early next year, he said, and the facility is one of three new pellet plants the company is planning.

The other two will be in Georgia and one will be in the east Georgia region that includes Augusta, but specific sites have not been announced.

The Edgefield County site was chosen based on factors including an adequate wood-fiber supply and access to rail lines, which will haul the pellets to the Port of Savannah for shipment, Easterlin said.

The pellet industry has grown, particularly in the Southeast, as market demand for renewable fuel increases in European nations, where energy producers are under pressure to use less coal.

Export-quality pellets are denser, drier and more consistent in composition than raw wood chips burned in biomass-generation facilities and paper mills. Both industries help make use of renewable forest resources and can decrease the amount of waste left behind by logging.

By 2014, the plants should each be producing about 450,000 metric tons of pellets a year, the company said.

Enova Energy was founded in 2009 with the goal of becoming a leader in the development and operations of renewable energy in the United States.



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