Highland Pellets LLC, an Arkansas company, will build a $130 million, 500,000 metric ton wood pellet facility in Pine Bluff creating 35 jobs.
Highland Pellets is a privately held company with industry veterans from the wood pellet, finance, and energy markets.
“While this plant is the first built under the Highland brand, our colleagues Mike Ferguson and Scott Jacobs bring decades of industry leading experience in the engineering and operating of industrial wood pellet plants,” Highland Pellets Chairman Tom Reilley said. “Together with Highland’s leadership team who are veterans of Cargill, Black River, JP Morgan and EnerNOC, we are excited to complete our Pine Bluff facility and expand our footprint.”
Last month, Houston-based Zilkha Biomass Energy said it will build a biomass wood pellet factory in Monticello investing $90 million in the plant and creating 52 jobs.
Wood pellets can be made from a variety of low-grade wood, feedstock, and residual matter from sawmills. The pellets can be integrated into coal-fired plants to create cleaner emissions, allowing plants to more easily comply with clean air regulations, and energy companies to build fewer new power plants, in theory.
The pellets are also water resistant, which allows them to be transported and stored outside like coal.
“This is another great example of matching Arkansas’s workforce and resources with a company that sees the potential for success here,” Gov. Mike Beebe said. “It speaks highly of southeast Arkansas that the business-savvy leaders of Highland Pellets chose Pine Bluff for this investment and this plant.”
Groundbreaking is expected to begin in October and deliveries from the plant to begin March 2016.