virginias first biochar production facility to be located in sussex county
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Virginia’s first biochar production facility to be located in Sussex County

virginia politics
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Bioproducts LLC will construct Virginia’s first biochar production facility in Sussex County. Co-located in the town of Waverly with wood pellet manufacturer Wood Fuel Developers. The company will use pyrolysis technology to convert waste wood from the mill into biochar and syngas, a form of natural gas.

Over the next three years, Restoration Bioproducts will invest $5.8 million into a new facility, create five high-paying jobs and purchase 34,560 tons of Virginia-grown wood products, while also bringing major business benefits to Wood Fuel Developers.

“Forestry is Virginia’s third largest private sector industry and is often the major economic driver in many of our rural communities. Therefore it is critical that entrepreneurs and innovators, like Restoration Bioproducts, apply new technologies to solve the business problems of today,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr. “This project highlights the power of collaboration and sustainable solutions, two hallmarks of a thriving forest products industry.”

Restoration Bioproducts is a Virginia-based, private-sector conservation company that provides custom-engineered, environmentally sustainable business solutions for companies dealing with agricultural or forestry waste. The company deploys pyrolysis-based solutions to sustainably produce biochar and syngas.

Biochar is a highly-porous, stable and carbon-rich charcoal-like product with a variety of applications, but is most commonly used as an agricultural soil amendment, odor absorber or animal feed additive.

For this project, the syngas will be used to power the pyrolysis reaction chamber, as well as a 500kw electric generator to provide low-cost, behind-the-meter electricity to Wood Fuel Developers.

In this project, Restoration Bioproducts benefits from a guaranteed supply of low-cost biomass and market for its electricity, while Wood Fuel Developers is offloading nuisance wood waste and reducing the costs associated with utility-supplied electricity.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with Sussex County and Restoration Bioproducts LLC to secure this project for the Commonwealth.

Governor Glenn Youngkin approved a $50,000 grant from the governor’s agriculture and forestry industries development fund. Sussex County and the Town of Waverly will match the state grant with local funds.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.