Zilkha Biomass Announces $90M Facility, 52 Jobs in Monticello

by Lee Hogan  on Wednesday, Jul. 30, 2014 10:10 am  

Zilkha Biomass Energy of Houston announced Wednesday that it will build a $90 million facility in Monticello that will create 52 jobs.

Zilkha, which produces biomass products for electric utility customers, will make its Zilkha Black Pellet, which according to the company is the first commercially available advanced pellet in the industry, at the Monticello factory. 

A spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said the project is receiving a $1 million federal grant administered by the state for infrastructure at the site, roadwork and to build a parking lot. The company is also eligible for an income tax credit and a sales tax refund for any machinery and building materials for its construction.

The facility is set to open in 2016.

"This plant in Monitcello will be one of Zilkha's largest and will help us capture more of the growing biomass energy market," Jack Holmes, Zilkha CEO, said in a news release. "Our Black Pellets have a set of beneficial qualities, such as water-resistance, that make it a more attractive option than traditional wood pellets."

The wood pellets are used in the energy industry as an alternative fuel source, and are made from feedstock. Zilkha's pellets can be integrated into coal-fired plants to create cleaner emissions.

"Wood pellets are gaining popularity in the U.S. as we look for sustainable fuel sources that are cleaner and cheaper to burn," Gov. Mike Beebe said in the release. "South Arkansas has the renewable forests that this kind of enterprise requires to succeed."

Nita McDaniel, executive director of the Monticello Economic Development Commission, said Zilkha is a natural fit for the area.

"Our heritage is rich in the timber industry and this heritage continues to move us forward with sustainable wood-based products," she said.

Zilkha is also building a pellet plant in Dallas County, Alabama. The company says the plant will be its largest, with a production capacity of 275,000 metric tons of pellets per year. 

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)



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