$700M Louisiana Project Moves Forward

Sumitomo Corp. and Strategic Biofuels are teaming up to develop this green fuel plant.

Strategic Biofuels and the Sumitomo Corp. of Americas have closed on a development agreement for the construction of the Louisiana Green Fuels project, a three-building, 327-acre liquid biofuel refinery in Caldwell Parish, La.

When completed, the plant will convert local forestry waste into more sustainable fuel products, primarily aviation fuel. Construction will begin in early 2025, with an anticipated opening of 2027. At the peak of its construction, the project is expected to employ more than 1,500 workers, while the plant will create 151 long-term jobs.

Lots of money and legislation

Focused on clean-energy, Louisiana Green Fuels is a subsidiary of Strategic Biofuels, a Columbia-based energy supply company. The project is its first in the state. For funding, SCOA is forming a cohort of fellow Japanese investors who will fund most of the project’s development, in order to reach a Financial Investment Decision.

According to Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana Green Fuels made a capital investment of more than $700 million in the project, procured primarily through private investors around North Louisiana. Additionally, a partnership between the Port of Columbia and Strategic Biofuels raised $34 million in state and federal grants for the site’s larger development, which includes improvements to road and rail connections, the Port’s public dock as well as the site’s security.

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Development plans for LGF’s new plant were launched in 2020, when Strategic Biofuels held its first discussions with the state’s Economic Development agency. According to a July 2022 article from Biodiesel Magazine, the State of Louisiana passed legislation specific to Caldwell Parish that prohibited third-party drilling into the project’s carbon dioxide storage reservoirs. A year later, Oil & Gas Journal reported that the state’s Department of Environmental Quality granted the project the first ever air permit, after concluding that the plant’s operations would not impact the air quality of its immediate surroundings.

Development, operations and capabilities

In total, Louisiana Green Fuels’ Caldwell Parish plant will include a refinery that that will recycle roughly 1 million tons of forestry waste per year, a biomass-fueled power plant as well as an on-site carbon capture and storage complex. Previously, the project was intended to primarily produce biodiesel, but the new plans call for the production of 83 percent sustainable aviation fuel, with the remaining 17 percent being a renewable form of naphtha.

During its operation, the plant is expected to be capable of producing 32 million gallons of fuel per year, recycling 1 million tons of forestry waste in the process. The fuel sources will consist primarily of the remains of felled pine trees. Additionally, the carbon capture facility is to retain roughly 1.36 million metric tons of CO2 per year, while SLB will provide engineering and design services for the complex. After its completion, the latter firm will also actively monitor the facility’s performance. When operational, the power plant will generate 86 MW of power annually.

With direct service to a Union Pacific rail line, the plant will be able to quickly transport finished products throughout Louisiana, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Monroe sits 25 miles to the north of the plant.

Sustainability in The Pelican State

In addition to a LGF’s new plant, Louisiana has enjoyed some recent investments on the solar front. In August of 2023, First Solar Inc. announced the development of a $1.1 billion solar module manufacturing facility in Iberia Parish.

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