Drax starts building new biomass pellet plant in Arkansas


United States Drax Group, the world’s largest sustainable biomass production and delivery firm, announced that work of the second of three satellite pellet factories in Arkansas has begun.

Work has begun on the site in Russellville, Pope County, in northwestern Arkansas, with commercial operations set to begin in 2022. The relocation is part of Drax’s $40 million investment in Arkansas, which will result in about 30 new direct jobs and many more indirect jobs across the state.

The three pellet factories are projected to create 120,000 metric tons of sustainable biomass pellets per year from sawmill scraps, assisting the renewable energy company’s efforts to enhance self-supply to its power station in the United Kingdom.

The construction of “satellite” pellet facilities near sawmills is part of Drax’s strategy to grow biomass self-supply to five million tons by 2027, improving supply chain resilience while lowering pellet costs.

The proximity of the plants to sawmills provides the satellite plants with ready feedstock of sawdust and other wastes left over after timber processing, lowering emissions in the supply chain as well as infrastructure, operational, and shipping expenses.

Drax has converted its power station in the United Kingdom into Europe’s largest decarbonization project by switching from coal to sustainable biomass.

Construction on Drax’s first satellite pellet factory in Leola, Grant County, began earlier this year, and commercial operations are slated to commence late this year. The selection of the third and final site is progressing.