Drax opens $100M pellet plant in Demopolis

Plant designed to convert sawdust, chips and shavings into biofuel pellets

Sawdust residue, a key ingredient of biofuel pellets.

Drax Group celebrated the opening of its new $100 million pellet plant in Demopolis Tuesday. As part of the celebration, Drax presented the Demopolis schools with $10,000.

The firm, which also operates a pellet plant in Aliceville in Pickens County, expects the new Marengo County plant to produce 360,000 metric tons of pellets per year from sawdust, chips and shavings left behind by nearby lumber operations.

The pellets are in high demand as an alternative fuel in Europe and Asia, replacing coal and cutting carbon emissions.

United Kingdom-based Drax Group owns 90% of the two plants, while Alabama-based Two Rivers Lumber Co. owns the remaining 10%. The new plant is located near Two Rivers. “Siting the pellet plant near a sawmill reduces infrastructure, operational and transportation costs,” Drax said in announcing the plant opening.

From there, pellets are shipped by barge to the Port of Mobile, headed for overseas destinations. Drax plans to use some of the pellets at a power station it operates in England.

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Drax CEO Will Gardiner, Demopolis Mayor Woody Collins, Demopolis City Schools Foundation Executive Director Ashley Coplin and Drax Executive Vice President for Pellet Operations Matt White celebrate Drax’s gift of $10,000 to the Demopolis schools.

Gov. Kay Ivey praised the plant, saying, “Drax’s wood pellet plant that’s being commissioned in Demopolis represents a major investment that will drive long-term economic growth and spark significant job creation in Marengo County. The opening of this facility is an exciting development for this rural region, and I look forward to seeing Drax develop new growth plans in Sweet Home Alabama.”

Drax operates seven pellet plants in the southern U.S. It acquired the Alabama operations when it purchased Canadian firm Pinnacle Energy in 2021.

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