NOLA.com / The Times Picayune
NFR BioEnergy CT LLC announced a $312 million energy project to install biorefineries at more than 10 sugar refining hubs across South Louisiana.
At a Monday (Sept. 8) announcement in Plaquemine, NFR BioEnergy Chief Operating Officer Frank Randazzo said the company will convert sugar cane waste, known as bagasse, into hardened energy pellets for use as fuel at global power plants.
Though the deal is contingent upon completing lease and biomass agreements with sugar mills, NFR BioEnergy has begun development of the first biorefinery in White Castle, La., where its co-locating the facility with the Cora Texas Sugar Mill.
The project will create 450 new direct jobs, with an average salary of $54,000 a year, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in an additional 1,903 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 2,300 new jobs in the state.
NFR BioEnergy will begin hiring in 2016, targeting 127 hires by the end of that year. The company hopes to hire all 450 employees by the end of its project year in 2019, and complete the construction of the sugar refining hubs by the end of 2018.
“NFR’s plant at Cora Texas in White Castle will be the first step toward revolutionizing both the energy pellet market and the disposal by Louisiana sugar mills of the excess waste produced in the refining process,” Randazzo said at the project announcement.
The Plandome, N.Y.-based refinery has been a Louisiana-chartered corporation since December 2013, and plans to move its headquarters to White Castle while completing the first part of the project.
“This project not only will create a new source of sustainable energy, but it will also create additional sources of fertilizer and lower waste and disposal costs for our sugar cane growers,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said Monday.
LED began working with NFR BioEnergy on the project in March 2013. The state offered the company an incentive package including a performance-based $500,000 Economic Development Award Program grant, LED FastStart workforce development program and Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber added, “the energy production sector within the region remains strong, which NFR’s selection of Iberville Parish underscores.”