RWE opens world's largest wood pellet plant

By Anna Austin | May 16, 2011

European power utility RWE Innogy has officially opened its 750,000 metric ton-per-year wood pellet manufacturing plant on a 740-acre site near Waycross, Ga., following a ribbon-cutting ceremony held late last week.

At a total cost of about €120 million (about $195 million), the plant and surrounding structures, as well as development of a port, took just over one year to construct.

Wood pellets produced at the plant will be transported via train to the port of Savannah, Ga., about 100 miles away from the facility, and then shipped to Europe. They will be used primarily by RWE’s coal-fired power plants in the Netherlands, where up to 30 percent of coal-fired power plants are already cofired with biomass, according to the company.

RWE plans to completely repower its Tilbury, U.K., coal-fired power station with biomass by the end of this year, and believes it will be the largest biomass power plant in the world at 750 megawatts post-conversion.

Europe has a goal of producing 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. Fritz Vahrenholt, CEO of RWE, said the feedstock requirements to help meet that goal cannot be met from resources available in Europe. “In the U.S., and mainly in the Southern states such as Georgia, the situation is quite different,” he said. “Here, the surplus of sustainable cultivated biomass was around 35 percent over the past 10 years. Thus, Europe can benefit from these overseas resources to attain its CO2 reduction targets.”


8 Responses

  1. Cayden



    Now thatÂ’s sutlbe! Great to hear from you.

  2. Sylvia



    Just great, our beautiful resources going to power Europeans to satisfy this hoax of man-made global warming.

  3. chumroen Benchavitvilai



    Please advise the cross comparison of the Biomass wood pellet with the coal in term of eenrgy value. Understood that the least cost of the tehrmal coal energy is much lower than the biomass. So far only the European countries are promoting the utilization of the biomass massively because there are a lot of subsidies in term of green certificates. The strong enforcement of the swift and carrot policies are supporting the huge growth of the biomass utilization in Europe.

  4. Rance



    Yes, we need to move forward on Renewable resources more quickly than our current snails pace; yes, we have obstructionist policies supported by special intrest groups; and yes, we will soon see this business also go to other regions of the world, SA and Africa, as their infrastructure improves. America needs a comprehenisve energy plan that is not dominated by the current Rockefeller's of energy.

  5. Todd Brillinger



    It just makes me shake my head when I read stories like this. Why is it more profitable to produce wood pellets in the US and ship them all the way to Europe than it would be to just turn the biomass into renewable power right where it is? What is the difference in dollars and in the carbon foot print? Am I missing something here? Just my 2 cents. Todd

  6. jonathan berger



    makes no sense and a US investor can get 15 to 30 percent return on this project! However - as is obvious the US has no global warming laws or renweable fuels standard. So we are are Europe's wood yard- while we burn the 6 billion tons of CO2 per year! Call your local Republican senator and republican house member and point out these details! They are killling the renewable fuel economy in the US.

  7. herb



    To all the readers who do not understand; Europe is trying to reduce fossil fuel useage we here in the U.S and Canada keep studying the european progress and instaed of using and taking advantage of Bio-Heat and reducing and redirecting our irreplacable carbon fuels we keep stalling and ignoring all the positives of sustainable heat for our continet.

  8. Chris



    Towards the above three comments. The reason we in Canada and the US are shipping renewable fuels over to the European and Japanese markets is not because our governments will not do it, it is because our general public whines and cries everytime we have to pay more for power and gasoline/diesel. People just always complain. We are already pay less than 1/2 the prices for gasoline than the European countries do, but all we do is whine that is too much money. You want to see real whining? Wait until we do switch to renewable bio-power and our power rates go through the roof. Renewable energy is not cheap. If everyone would quit complaining and just pay more these commodities than our countries would partially switch over.


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