Georgia Biomass plant damaged in explosion

Production has stopped at the Georgia Biomass wood pellet plant in Waycross, Georgia, US, after an explosion on 20 June 2011.

The incident occurred at around 8am. No one was injured.

'It did extensive damage to the processing end,' says Dennis Keen, Ware County fire chief. 'They'll probably be down an extended period of time.'

Georgia Biomass is a subsidiary of Germany's RWE Innogy, an electricity and gas company. The plant, which cost $175 million (€122 million) to build and is thought to be one of the world's largest pellet manufacturing facilities, has been online for just over a month after it opened on 12 May 2011.

Work at the plant has ceased for the time being but plant manager Ken Ciarlette says the damage is not widespread. 'I wouldn't say the damage is extensive. It's in a very small portion of our facility,' he says. 'We're offline because of it. We haven't determined how long we'll be offline. We're still in the assessment mode.'

The cause of the explosion has not yet been identified.

The plant was designed to produce 750,000 tonnes of wood pellets a year from pine timber.

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