December 2010

BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC

THE PROJECT

In December 2010, AMCREF Community Capital (AMCREF) provided $15.7 million of NMTC financing to BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC (BTHQ), a non-metropolitan producer of torrefied wood pellets. Torrefaction is the process of treating wood or other biomass to create a product that: 1) has increased energy density; 2) is easy to handle and transport; and 3) can replace a portion of the coal used by existing coal‐fired power plants, thereby reducing emissions. Torrefied wood is recognized internationally as a source of clean, green energy with long‐term carbon neutrality.The BTHQ facility is located in a non-metro, highly-distressed census tract in Quitman, MS. The facility utilizes wood waste purchased from the surrounding community, such as pine thinnings and sawmill residuals, and once fully operational, will be one of the first utility scale torrefaction facilities in the U.S., producing over 137,000 tons of torrefied pellets per year.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: The facility creates up to 171 direct FTEs including, 90 FTEs at the facility and directly support 81 FTEs in the lumber and transportation industries. The project also creates 67 construction jobs and 117 indirect/induced jobs in the surrounding communities.
  • Support for Local Forestry Industry: BTHQ sources and purchases up to 360,000 tons of “wood waste” from within an 80-mile radius of the facility annually. This wood waste would otherwise have limited economic value and likely end up in landfills. BTHQ provides a valuable new revenue stream to the local forestry industry and landowners, many of which were struggling due to the decline in the construction industry and closing of many paper mills.
  • Environmental Benefits: The torrefied pellets are sold to utilities in the U.S. and/or Europe to be co‐fired with coal in existing coal‐fired power plants. By replacing a portion of the coal used in these plants, torrefied pellets convert a portion of the power produced to renewable energy, at no capital cost to the utilities. Furthermore, utilizing torrefied pellets greatly reduces net carbon, sulfur dioxide and fly ash emissions.
  • Catalytic Effects/Future Projects: BTHQ will be one of the first utility scale suppliers of torrefied pellets in the U.S. and management is currently in discussions with several utilities in the Southeast. The BTHQ facility can serve as a catalyst for establishing the torrefaction industry in the domestic market.
  • Economic Impact: The BTHQ facility received substantial support and incentives from the City of Quitman, Clarke County, the State of Mississippi, and regional economic and community development groups due to the forecasted positive economic benefits it will have on the surrounding community.