Two biofuel companies were approved Friday in Baton Rouge for state manufacturing incentives totaling a combined $750,000 for wood energy projects to be built at the Port of Alexandria and at Bastrop in northeastern Louisiana’s Morehouse Parish.
An economic development loan of $500,000 was approved by the board of the Louisiana Economic Development Corp. for Morehouse BioEnergy LLC in Bastrop.
A grant of $250,000 was awarded to Cool Planet Louisiana LLC to kick start a Red River refinery at Alexandria that will convert trees, forestry waste and natural gas into gasoline and jet fuel in a process that also produces biochar. Biochar is a high-tech charcoal that enables soil to retain greater water and nutrient volumes.
Cool Planet Louisiana can keep the $250,000 in state money only if it first invests $56 million in the venture. It then must begin plant operations by January 2015 and hire 24 employees with an annual payroll of $1.4 million. The plant is expected to produce 27,000 gallons of fuel and 7.2 tons of biochar per day.
Identical state grants and Cool Planet Louisiana investment, production and employment numbers are expected for another plant planned on the Red River at the Natchitoches Parish Port and at a third site that has not yet been determined. Each of those plants must be operated for a minimum of 10 years.