Westervelt holds groundbreaking for Alabama pellet mill

By Lisa Gibson | October 27, 2011

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley spoke at the groundbreaking event Oct. 25 for Westervelt Renewable Energy’s new pellet mill in Aliceville, emphasizing the facility’s contribution to job growth and the multiplier effect those new jobs will have on families in the community.

About 75 of 110 invited guests attended the event, according to Robby Johnson, marketing manager for Westervelt Renewable Energy’s parent The Westervelt Co. The small, 3,000-person western Alabama town of Aliceville has been welcoming and receptive of the 250,000-metric ton per year pellet mill, Johnson said. “It is a small town in Alabama so many of the local citizens are also engaged community/civic leaders, and the response at that level was immense,” he said, adding that support has come from Chamber of Commerce representatives, the city’s mayor and the sheriff, all of whom attended the groundbreaking event.

“We have worked with the Industrial Development Board of Aliceville to secure the site and have received favorable input throughout the process,” Johnson said. “We have an opportunity to educate and engage as responsible corporate citizens in Aliceville, and will be reaching out to the local community throughout our development, launch and ongoing operations.”

The plant is expected to be operational in November of 2012, expandable to 500,000 metric tons per year of pellets made from southern yellow pine material. The project site, in Alabama’s west-central Pickens County, is on the Tennessee-Tombigwee Waterway and is the former Huyck Felt Plant, both factors contributing greatly to its selection.

The Westervelt Co. is a sustainable forest management conservation practices organization, and is also constructing a 7-megawatt biomass power plant at its sawmill in nearby Hale County.