Enviva expands wood pellet plant plans

By Anna Austin | May 04, 2011

Wood pellet manufacturer Enviva LP has decided to expand the capacity of its 300,000-ton plant under construction in Ahoskie, N.C., by 50,000 tons.

Spokeswoman Elizabeth Woodworth said company has significant demand for wood pellets—specifically, a large European customer base—and given the plant was already in development, it was decided to increase capacity in order to help meet that demand.

 Prior to the planned expansion, Enviva’s portfolio of operating plants in the wood biomass supply chain totaled more than 300,000 metric tons per year of combined capacity, with an additional 2.5 million tons of production in various stages of construction, permitting, and development.  

On feedstock, Woodworth said that Enviva has identified enough potential supply to support the expansion, and feels comfortable that the additional volume can be secured.

The plant, which is being built at a former Georgia Pacific Lumber site, is schedule to be operating in the early fourth quarter 2011, according to Woodworth. It has received a great deal of local and state support, including a $270,000 grant from the state’s One North Carolina Fund, a program that invests in state projects to create jobs.

With the expansion, the company projects that the plant will provide more than 60 full-time jobs to area residents. It is on schedule to be operating in the early fourth quarter of 2011, Woodworth said.

Earlier this year, Enviva acquired a deep water port terminal in Chesapeake, Va., to enable the company to receive, store and load in excess of 3 million tons of woody biomass for export annually.