Louisiana’s entry into biofuels market energizes timber industry

Gov. John Bel Edwards and other officials recently announced the construction of a new, $110 million sawmill by British Columbia-based Teal Jones. The groundbreaking highlighted the rapid expansion of lumber production in Louisiana in the past 14 months.

Between May 2021 and April of this year, six new projects were announced, adding up to nearly $700 million in new investment, reports NOLA.com. State economic development officials have estimated that the new projects could add more than 2,000 new jobs in total.

Two new south Louisiana projects that use wood pellets for biofuel have been announced, adding to the market for lumber by-products. Arbor Renewable Gas said in June it plans to put a plant in West Baton Rouge and Origin Materials in February announced plans to put a plant in Ascension Parish. Both will use wood pellets.

Drax, a United Kingdom-based company, already has three plants in Louisiana where they produce wood pellets that are used for fuel, including shipping some to England for use in electricity generation.

While crops like sugar and rice are often seen as the behemoths of Louisiana agriculture, trees are the state’s biggest ag business by revenue and have been a critical crop for more than a century. The state’s 14 million acres of forests cover nearly half of the state. Read the entire story.