Pacific BioEnergy Corporation and GDF SUEZ today announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to support a $24 million expansion of Pacific BioEnergy's existing wood pellet production facilities in Prince George, BC (the "PG Plant"). Pacific BioEnergy and global energy production leader GDF SUEZ have formed a new joint venture to own and operate the PG Plant.
In addition to its minority interest in the joint venture, GDF SUEZ has also agreed to purchase 2.5 million tonnes of carbon-neutral wood pellets for its electrical generating facilities in Belgium over the next 10 years, replacing approximately two million tonnes of coal and reducing net CO2 emissions by over 4 million tonnes.
The expansion project, expected to be complete in the fall of 2010, will see annual wood pellet production at the PG Plant double to 350,000 tonnes. New state-of-the-art emission control equipment will be installed, improving the air quality in and around Prince George. The expanded PG Plant will also utilize more mountain pine beetle killed wood and other waste wood from the forests surrounding Prince George. Left to decompose, or burned as slash, this biomass creates carbon dioxide and methane, a greenhouse gas that can trap 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide.