Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and CEO Paul Schubert of Strategic Biofuels LLC announced that the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Louisiana Green Fuels, plans to develop a renewable diesel plant near the Caldwell Parish seat of Columbia. Situated on a 171-acre site at the Port of Columbia, the plant would produce up to 32 million gallons of renewable fuel annually through established refinery processes with wood waste as the feedstock. The company is completing feasibility and financing phases for the project in anticipation of a final investment decision by late 2022.
Through the project, Louisiana Green Fuels would make a capital investment of at least $700 million. The company would create 76 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of more than $68,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project would result in an additional 412 new indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 500 new jobs in Caldwell Parish and the surrounding region. During a 30-month building phase, the project would generate 450 construction jobs.
“Louisiana Green Fuels is an example of how our state can merge traditional and emerging forms of energy in exciting ways to address climate change,” Gov. Edwards said. “The company has engaged Justiss Oil of Jena to drill a sequestration test well that will confirm the integrity of carbon storage a mile below the earth’s surface. This project would boost our state’s forestry sector by harvesting timber byproducts in a sustainable fashion, and the refinery’s renewable diesel output would be accomplished in a carbon-negative fashion. That means this refinery would achieve better than net-zero emissions – it would actually remove more carbon from the environment than it produces.”
Strategic Biofuels has raised 85 percent of its early-stage financing from investors in North Louisiana. In addition to the Columbia renewable diesel refinery, the company envisions the development of additional Louisiana refineries that would target production of renewable aviation fuel, as well as diesel.
“Caldwell Parish is the ideal location for our Louisiana Green Fuels plant,” said Dr. Schubert, CEO of Strategic Biofuels. “It combines the required forestry waste feedstock for fuel production and the right geology for carbon sequestration within the State of Louisiana’s visionary legislative framework, which has been further strengthened by the Climate Initiative established by Governor Edwards. We are especially thankful for his signature on the recent $200 million tax-free bond allocation, which substantially advances the financing for this project.”
LED began formal discussions with Strategic Biofuels about the potential Louisiana Green Fuels project in July 2020. With a final investment decision, the State of Louisiana would negotiate a competitive incentive package to secure the project.
Following the final investment decision by Strategic Biofuels, construction of the initial Louisiana Green Fuels refinery in Caldwell Parish would begin at the Port of Columbia and lead to initial plant operations in early to mid-2025.