Biofuel maker Enviva, which has a new pellet plant in progress at the Port of Epes in Sumter County, announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with its first U.S.-based customer. The supply agreement will support the unnamed customer’s development of biofuel refining facilities in the Southeast.
Up until now, most of Enviva’s production has been destined for European markets, where wood pellets substitute for petroleum fuels. The firm also announced its first pellet shipment to Germany, to meet industrial fuel demand.
“We are extremely excited about the growth in Enviva’s business and our first MOU with a U.S. customer,” said John Keppler, chairman and CEO at Maryland-based Enviva. “Efforts around the world to decarbonize in order to meet net zero by 2050 continue to accelerate, giving companies like ours the tremendous opportunity to grow even more rapidly and expand the global supply chain as necessary to continue to facilitate the energy transition and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions profile of hard-to-abate industries such as steel, cement, lime and biofuels, including sustainable aviation fuels.
“We are very proud to now be in a position to not only export the sustainable, renewable energy and low-carbon feedstock we produce in the Southeastern United States but to combat both climate change and devastating wildfire risks by expanding the long-term contracted use of our products and growing our customer and production footprint right here at home in the broader U.S.,” Keppler added.
In announcing the MOU and other expansions, Enviva added: “Enviva’s current operations and numerous potential development sites in the U.S. Southeast position it to co-develop alongside the SAF refining capacity the customer intends to construct in the region. California is another jurisdiction where Enviva is evaluating plans to build one or more facilities with the intent of utilizing low-grade wood fiber from high-hazard zones in the state both to mitigate devastating wildfire risk in the region and tackle the negative effects of climate change globally.”
Enviva plans to double its capacity over the next five years, from 6.2 metric tons per year to 13 million. It plans to commission two new production plants per year to meet that goal.