SmartLam North America - Dothan, Peak Renewables, state, city, county and business officials announced two major projects that will make a profound and significant impact to southeast Alabama, the state of Alabama and the southeast United States growing forest products sector.
SmartLam North America - Dothan, which is the first and largest manufacturer in North America of Southern Yellow Pine Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) at its current 225,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, announced its investment to build a new dedicated glulam manufacturing facility. The new SmartLam facility will manufacture large glulam beams and columns that are a requirement to properly serve the mass timber market.
SmartLam North America CEO Derek Ratchford stated, “We are pleased to announce the investment of $62 million to construct a new state-of-the-art custom Dothan Area glulam manufacturing plant which will be the largest custom plant in North America. This facility will be 140,000 square feet and have a capacity of 84,000,000 board foot annual capacity when it reaches full production.” SmartLam will also incorporate additional equipment to fully automate the Dothan CLT plant to produce 2,000,000 cubic feet of CLT annually.
The SmartLam glulam manufacturing facility will allow the company to purchase and utilize additional high-strength fiber from private landowners throughout central and southern Alabama.
Ratchford added, “Most mass timber glulam/columns are manually produced. The new plant will be automated allowing SmartLam to significantly increase production and simultaneously deliver multiple mass timber projects. We are strategically located in Alabama to serve the Southeast, the fastest growing mass timber market in the United States. We are currently the largest CLT manufacturer in North America and with the glulam addition, SmartLam will become the largest mass timber (glulam/CLT) producer in North America. We appreciate the tremendous support we have received from the State of Alabama through Gov. Kay Ivey, the Alabama Department of Commerce/AIDT, Alabama Department of Transportation, City of Dothan, Houston County Commission, Houston County Road and Bridge Department, The Industrial Development Board of the City of Dothan, Dothan Utilities, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce/Grow Dothan, and the Genessee and Wyoming Railroad. This group is focused on helping us position for our future growth.”
In realizing end-use diversification is important to a resilient forestry industry, Peak Renewables CEO Scott Bax announced their investment to build a new wood pellet production facility that will utilize 30 acres which will include rail spurs in collaboration with Genessee and Wyoming Railroad, that will have a footprint on six acres representing a $30 million investment. This facility will be a 24/7, 365-day operation that will utilize sawmill residuals to produce wood pellets for renewable power generation.
“This facility and the investment will further strengthen the overall forestry economy and bring a world-class wood fiber operating facility to the Dothan area producing 180,000 MT of wood pellets annually,” said Bax. The wood pellets at Peak Renewables Dothan will be made from low-value mill residuals that have few other economic uses. In the pellet manufacturing process, the wood moves through a pulverizing process and then is compressed and heated releasing the naturally occurring lignans which act as a binder holding the pellet together. The Peak Renewables wood pellet process does not require any additional chemicals to bind the wood. The finished pellets are uniform in size and contain a consistent amount of measurable energy making them a valuable product for green renewable power generation.
The projects represent $92 million in investment which is one of the area’s largest industrial investments in the history of the southeast Alabama region and will create 70 new jobs initially. The project timeline is to have the Peak Renewable Wood Pellet manufacturing plant in operation in the 2023 third quarter and the new SmartLam/GluLam manufacturing operation in the 2024 second quarter.