Construction is set to begin before the end of the year on a $70 million renewable fuel plant in Jeanerette that will turn sugar cane bagasse into fuel pellets.
Delta Biofuel will build the plant off U.S. 90, near the Enterprise Sugar Mill, after state and Iberia Parish officials approved industrial tax exemptions for the facility, said Philip Keating, chief executive officer. “From an investment profile, that was a big step,” he said.
Delta Biofuel announced in late June that it was considering building the plant. It would create 126 direct jobs, with an average salary of $62,500, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development said the plant would also create 149 indirect jobs in Iberia Parish and support 100 construction jobs at its peak.
The company will harvest the bagasse, which is the crop residue left after sugar cane is crushed to extract its juice, from Enterprise and three other nearby sugar mills to produce fuel pellets. The pellets would be used in power and industrial heating plants that are transitioning away from fossil fuels. Delta has found European buyers for about 80% of the 300,000 metric ton of pellets that will be produced annually, Keating said.
After the plant begins operations in late 2022-early 2023, Keating said Delta Biofuel anticipates producing more diversified and refined products out of bagasse.
“The most important thing for us right now is to take care of the bagasse problem and secure a flow of feedstock,” he said.