Business Briefs

Wood pellet plant slated for Sims

Posted January 3, 2013 5:04 p.m. EST

— A company plans to build a $60 million plant in Wilson County to make wood pellets to fuel electric plants, officials said Thursday.

The International WoodFuels LLC plant in Sims will create 32 jobs and produce 300,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year, officials said. The average annual payroll for the plant is expected to top $1.4 million.

International WoodFuels was established in 2007 to build and operate a number of pellet fuel plants throughout the southeastern U.S. that would supply European coal-fired electric utilities with renewable, low-carbon fuel.

“Our company is excited about its selection of Sims for its first plant, and we look forward to establishing additional production facilities in North Carolina to meet the increasing demand in Europe for sustainably harvested woody biomass," Steve Mueller, president of International WoodFuels, said in a statement. "The combination of plentiful fiber supply, a strong rail network and two exceptional port facilities in North Carolina offers WoodFuels reliable, cost-efficient and long-term resources suited to a multi-decade export business.”

The company qualified for a $100,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance to attract business projects to the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job and investment targets to obtain funds.