Gron Fuels mulling $9.2 billion fuel complex in Baton Rouge

(iStock) Soybean plants

Grön Fuels LLC is studying the feasibility of a renewable fuel complex at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

With expansions and associated projects, the complex could involve up to $9.2 billion of total investment over several phases. A final investment decision is expected in 2021, which will determine the final cost of the project’s first phase.

“This renewable fuel production facility will help to secure Louisiana’s place as a leader in environmentally friendly energy production,” Gov. Edwards said. “Growing global demand for renewable transportation fuels creates a significant growth opportunity for our state.”

The project would be built in stages over nine years at a site leased from the port on the west bank of the Mississippi River, near Port Allen. The first phase of construction would involve a capital investment of over $1.25 billion and create 340 new direct jobs by 2024. The base project is expected to produce up to 60,000 barrels per day of low-carbon renewable diesel, with an option to produce renewable jet fuel utilizing non-fossil feedstocks, including soybean oil, corn oil and animal fats. Upon completion of all phases—potentially by 2030—the site would be one of the largest renewable fuel complexes in the world.

“Louisiana’s core strengths in the field of building and operating plants that produce fuels and products for the world, coupled with its logistically advantaged deepwater location at the nexus of energy and agriculture, serve as the launching point for a new ‘high tech’ transition of the region into the next generation of energy,” Fidelis Managing Partner Dan Shapiro said. “I’m proud to be involved in this exciting project as we work to advance it through feasibility and its next steps.”

Houston-based Fidelis Infrastructure is an asset management firm specializing in specific industry sectors, including renewable energy, low-carbon transportation fuels, sustainable and circular economy infrastructure, and digital infrastructure. The Fidelis team has been involved in complex infrastructure projects ranging from $40 million up to $2 billion, including fiber-optic networks; solar power generation; downstream petrochemical; long-haul, high-voltage electric transmission; and gas pipeline projects. Company partners Shapiro and Bengt Jarlsjo both attended LSU and previously worked for The Shaw Group in Baton Rouge.

“It definitely feels good to work to advance this project and give back to Louisiana and the Baton Rouge region,” Jarlsjo said.

LED began formal project discussions with Fidelis Infrastructure about Grön Fuels in March 2020. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package —subject to a final investment decision—that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program for the past 11 years. The package also includes a performance-based grant of up to $15 million, payable at up to $2.5 million per year for six years, for project development and infrastructure. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Executive Director Jay Hardman of the Port of Greater Baton Rouge said the port has  finalized the ground lease.

Grön Fuels and its sponsor, Fidelis Infrastructure, intend to use qualified local businesses to assist in the delivery, operations and maintenance of the facility. CSRS Inc. is assisting Grön Fuels in compiling prequalification of firms interested in providing services for the project. Companies should email Jamie McKnight at [email protected] to request the information required to register interest in providing services for Grön Fuels.

Read the full announcement.