Port of Columbia

The Port of Columbia spans 170 acres just 25 miles away from Monroe in North Louisiana. 

The first renewable or green diesel plant in a planned portfolio by a Kansas City-area business is underway about 25 miles south of Monroe in north Louisiana.

The Louisiana Green Fuels project is a venture by Olathe, Kansas-based Strategic Biofuels, according to the company's website. It is located on leased land inside the Port of Columbia, which is in Caldwell Parish. 

The company expects to produce 32 million gallons of biofuels once completed. About 83% of the final product is expected to be renewable diesel and the remaining 17% would be renewable naphtha. Akin to many other green diesel projects, the fuel can be used in engines that require traditional fossil fuels unlike more traditional biofuels, according to the company. 

"Our renewable diesel has no blending limitation and can be used in place of petroleum-derived diesel," according to its website

Strategic Biofuels did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the project.

The company relies on the active thinning of forests, using waste such as branches, pine needles and treetops as the feedstock for the biofuel plant. This feedstock is plentiful in the surrounding area, where pine trees are grown for commercial harvesting into lumber. 

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The plant, which could cost upwards of $1 billion to build according to a local politician who shared the overarching plan, is expected to be operational in late 2024 or early 2025. State Rep. Neil Riser, from Columbia, told the local Gannett affiliate the project could support 100 permanent jobs and hundreds of construction jobs. 

The company has plans to use carbon sequestration — the process of capturing carbon released into the air and injecting it at least one mile underground. 

There are no wetlands, endangered species or culturally sensitive areas that would impede development of the project, according to the company.

"The stratigraphic test well is used to demonstrate that the geologic formations necessary to hold the greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide) are present and that the layer where the carbon dioxide will be injected can accept it. The same forces that have trapped oil and gas underground for millions of years will hold the carbon dioxide in place. The carbon dioxide storage layer is thousands of feet below the deepest drinking water aquifer," according to the company's website. "A thick, impermeable containment layer above the storage layer ensures that none of the carbon dioxide can move upward."

The company posted a video about its plans on YouTube several hours ago. 

Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.