Georgia Biomass earns qualification, reaches delivery milestone

By Georgia Biomass | June 28, 2016

Wood pellet producer Georgia Biomass, a subsidiary of RWE, has reached several important milestones. The high quality of wood pellets produced at its Waycross, Georgia, facility has recently been recognized by receiving qualification into the Pellet Fuels Institute Standards Program. In parallel, Georgia Biomass has also successfully completed its ENplus A1 re-certification audit.  This makes Georgia Biomass the first industrial-scale producer in North America with both ENplus A1 and PFI quality certifications. These recognitions signify the capability of the plant to produce pellets to the most stringent requirements as set by the residential markets in both Europe and the U.S.

With a design capacity of 750,000 metric tons per year, the wood pelleting plant operated by Georgia Biomass one of the largest of its kind in the world and has been operating since 2011. The aforementioned quality certifications enable the company to fortify its position in the residential heating markets in both Europe and the U.S. For the U.S. heating market in particular, the company plans to grow its business significantly by the end of the decade.  Along with offering a high-quality and consistent wood pellet product, Georgia Biomass is advantaged with a state-of-the-art railcar loading system at its facility in Waycoss, which provides for efficient, reliable, and low-cost delivery of pellets country-wide.

Coincidentally, Georgia Biomass is also due to complete the loading of its 100th vessel at Savannah Bulk Terminal for delivery CIF to European customers in July of this year. Georgia Biomass has a long term relationship with the shipping company Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S and East Coast Terminal Co., a subsidiary of Peeples Industries Inc. in Savannah where its vessels are loaded.

Ejner Kiel Bonderup, executive vice president, head of dry cargo of D/S Norden A/S commented, “Georgia Biomass’ focus on quality, safety and reliability is shared by Norden and we are proud to have been trusted the responsibility of being an important part of Georgia Biomass’ supply chain and meet the high expectations that Georgia Biomass have both to themselves and their partners.”

The majority of the wood pellets delivered from the port of Savannah to Europe are sold into the export industrial market where Georgia Biomass has off-take agreement counterparties including major European utilities. Integral to these long-term agreements is the requirement that Georgia Biomass demonstrates and maintains its commitment to the highest sustainability standards as mandated by European customers. Exemplifying this commitment is the achievement of certifications from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Forest Stewardship Council, Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, Green Gold Label, and most recently the Sustainable Biomass Partnership.

Jim Roecker, CEO of Georgia Biomass, explains, “These latest quality achievements exemplify the continuous progress we are making toward becoming the industry leader in safely and reliably producing and supplying wood pellets of high quality for the residential and industrial markets in both Europe and the U.S. The achievement of the shipping milestone signifies the successful partnerships Georgia Biomass has developed with our service providers along the value chain. At Georgia Biomass we say that people make the difference—this is true not only for our company but also for those companies we rely on to provide services critical to our success.  I am grateful for the effort put forth by the Georgia Biomass team to achieve these latest quality certifications, and to our partners in the value chain, in particular D/S Norden A/S and East Coast Terminal Co., who have been key in reaching the milestone of 100 vessels delivered CIF into Europe since we started operation in 2011. Going forward, we will continue to drive our performance by maintaining the highest levels of safety and sustainability standards, and through the execution of our operational excellence plans, including continuous improvement in pellet quality.  We will continue to evaluate all options to grow and diversify our business, which will provide additional opportunities for us to further strengthen our service provider relationships.”