The companies are specifically interested in assessing the feasibility of jointly investing in and operating a commercial-scale bio-pellet production facility in the United States by 2011. Depending on the success of the joint feasibility study, more facilities could follow in addition to the initial production facility, in aspiration to become a world class bio-pellet producer. The bio-pellets will be produced using wood based biomass, targeted from U.S.-sourced sustainably managed forest resources or by-products and sold to utilities and industrial users for energy production.
The agreement signals the belief of both companies that there are existing and emerging opportunities in an expanding bio-energy market. The MOU brings together two industry leaders and leverages the strengths of both companies: Weyerhaeuser’s capacity to produce renewable biomass at scale from its sustainably managed forests and Mitsubishi Corporation’s worldwide network and experience in the energy sector and bio-pellet manufacturing business. Mitsubishi Corporation currently operates two bio-pellet facilities in Japan and is also actively involved in the management of Vis Nova Trading GmbH, a major producer of bio-pellets in Germany.
“Weyerhaeuser is committed to developing sustainable and renewable energy solutions for a carbon-constrained world,” said Dan Fulton, Weyerhaeuser President and CEO. “This opportunity has the potential to offer a significant renewable energy option here in North America and beyond while also creating green jobs in our operating communities. At the same time, we have the opportunity to enhance the value of Weyerhaeuser timberlands by converting residuals from our forest management activities into a new revenue stream.”
“Through this collaboration, Mitsubishi Corporation is further demonstrating our commitment to the environment by developing practical business solutions to address climate change. Given the potential for bio-pellets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, we see good prospects for future bio-pellet market growth,” said Yorihiko Kojima, Mitsubishi Corporation President and CEO. “This opportunity with Weyerhaeuser will enable us to establish a bio-pellet production facility in the U.S., adding to our existing investments in Japan and Europe and thereby creating a stable worldwide supply.”
Bio-pellets are a renewable and carbon-neutral fuel made from biomass, which can include by-products from forest management. The biomass is compressed and molded into small, cylindrical pellets. Co-firing bio-pellets with thermal coal has proved effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.
About Mitsubishi Corporation
Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan's largest general trading company (sogo shosha) with over 200 bases of operations in approximately 80 countries worldwide. Mitsubishi Corporation has long been engaged in business with customers around the world in virtually every industry, including energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, food and general merchandise. For more information, please visit www.mitsubishicorp.com
About Weyerhaeuser Company
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2008, sales were $8 billion. It has offices or operations in 10 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction and development. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com.