Allendale wins $6 million biomass investment, 35 new jobs

Thunderbolt Biomass, Inc., a manufacturer of wood pellets from sawmill residuals, is launching new processing operations in Allendale County, according to news releases. The company is planning to invest $6 million in the project, creating 35 new jobs.

“Companies come to our state and invest in our people because of all our state has to offer, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for Thunderbolt Biomass in Allendale County,” Gov. Henry McMaster said.

At the new facility, Thunderbolt Biomass will produce industrial renewable fuel from biomass sourced from the area adjacent to the plant. Additionally, the plant will produce a variety of raw materials, such as sawmill residuals, forestry residuals, thinnings and in-woods chip operations. The facility will also produce horse and animal beddings, domestic fuel and more.

“Thunderbolt Biomass is very pleased to announce its plans for a new pellet mill in Allendale, S.C.,” said company president Knox Grant.  “We are very happy to be building this plant in an area of abundant forestry resources, infrastructure and with the active support of the S.C. Department of Commerce and the SouthernCarolina Economic Alliance, whose personnel and expertise were critical in bringing this project to Allendale. We intend to be good partners in developing our business here, to hire locally as much as we can and look forward to many profitable years in this community.”

Located on an eight-acre site at 1624 Bluff Road in Allendale, S.C., the company’s Allendale County operations will be housed in a 14,550-square-foot metal building. A wood pellet mill, with a capacity of 60,000 tons per annum, will also be installed on the site. Adjacent to the building will be raw material reception equipment, a dryer, storage silos, sieves, hammermills and environmental equipment.

“Thunderbolt’s investment reflects its confidence in our state’s abundant forest resource and the many landowners who sustainably manage their woodlands.,” said South Carolina State Forester Gene Kodama.  “This facility will join the hundreds of other mills in South Carolina that contribute to forestry’s rank one of the leading manufacturing sectors in terms of jobs and labor income.”

Hiring for the new positions is projected to begin in the second quarter of 2017, and interested applicants should apply through SC Works.

“Thunderbolt Biomass will be an outstanding addition to our region’s forest products industry sector, and we look forward to having this green industry locating in our region,” said outhernCarolina Alliance Chairman Buddy Phillips.  “SouthernCarolina Alliance will continue to work with Thunderbolt Biomass to create the best conditions possible for a profitable bottom line, providing job creation in our communities.”

Local officials support effort

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development has approved job development credits related to this project. Allendale County was also awarded a $100,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant to assist with costs related to this project.

Allendale County officials praised the investment in the area.

“Allendale County welcomes Thunderbolt Biomass to our industrial community,” said Allendale County Council Chairman Bill Robinson.  “The company will be providing 35 jobs with good salaries, and every one of those jobs represents a family whose future will be improved by a good job with a nice income. That’s how we will improve the quality of life for the people of our area.”

Added Allendale Aeronautics and Economic Development Commission Chairwoman Barbara Lewis:  “The people of Allendale County are proud that Thunderbolt Biomass has selected Allendale County for their biomass pellet manufacturing operation. We believe it speaks to the quality of our workforce and the strength of our resources in wood products. We are grateful for their $6 million investment and the creation of 35 high-paying jobs.”

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