Wood Pellet Production Operation Considering Effingham Plant


Published on January 5 2016 3:51 pm
Last Updated on January 6 2016 11:33 am
Written by Greg Sapp

The proponent of a wood pellet production site in Effingham spoke to the Effingham County Economic Development Board about the idea Tuesday.

Bob McElwee is already operating a plant, known as Freedom Energy, in the southeast United States and has a contract with the Swedish government. McElwee said his company uses "wastewood" such as pallets and trimmings from trees to produce the wood pellets, which are used as fuel to produce energy. He said 740,000 tons  of pellets are sent to Europe each year, mainly Germany and Switzerland along with the contract with the Swedes.

McElwee said he is looking at a smaller scale operation in Effingham County, employing three to four people initially, and is eyeing a location on South Banker in Effingham as his production facility. He said he isn't looking for assistance at this point and hopes to have more definitive information on the project for next month's meeting.

Also Tuesday, the Economic Development Board is looking at ways to restructrure a loan made to a local startup business that is struggling to repay its loan, and heard from City Economic Development Director Todd Hull on job retention efforts at local businesses. It was reported, too, that the development board once again has about $20,000 to loan to new or fledgling businesses since earlier loans have been repaid.