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August 31, 2023

Presque Isle firm wins contract to build $100M fuel pellet plant in Louisiana

big machinery COURTESY / PLAYER DESIGN One of Player Designs' past projects was a pair of dryers at a pellet plant in northern Quebec.

A Presque Isle company, Player Design Inc., has been selected to serve as the lead engineering firm and key supplier for a newly announced $100 million biofuel plant to be built in Jeanerette, La. 

The Delta Biofuel facility will convert sugarcane waste, or bagasse, into a fuel pellets — producing long-term renewable energy while reducing carbon emissions that result when bagasse is left to decompose.

The plant, Delta's first and thought to be the first of its kind in North America, will have an estimated production capacity of 340,000 metric tons of pellets per year. Final investment in the facility, including construction and start-up costs, is expected to total $100 million.

Player Design was initially selected to provide its patented energy and dryer systems to the project. The company then contracted to serve as the complete engineering, procurement and construction provider for the entire facility.

Tyler Player, a Presque Isle native, founded the company in 2008 and serves as president.

person in checked shirt smiling
Tyler Player

Leaders from both Maine and Louisiana have heralded the project as testaments to the success of both companies in the renewable energy fields. 

The contract “is a testament to Player Designs’ very impressive and innovative operations as well as the strong leadership from owner Tyler Player," said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Louisiana is one of the nation's top producers of sugarcane, generating more than 2 million tons of raw sugar in 2022.

“Once again we see how the transition to cleaner energy creates investment, jobs and opportunities across multiple economic sectors and regions of our state,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Construction is underway, with long-term feedstock purchase agreements in place, as well as several long-term contracts with power utility companies located primarily in Europe for the sale of more than 1.8 million tons of pellets over the next several years.

Player Design serves the wood pellets manufacturing, grain and agricultural products, animal bedding manufacturing, food and chemical products, and engineered wood products industries with rotary drum dryers.

The company also has served as an engineering, procurement and construction supplier for drying and energy systems in pellet plants from North America to Asia.

“With the drying and energy systems being such a cornerstone of successful pellet operations, the guaranteed performance and capital cost of the facility were already something we stood behind, so adding the pellet presses and related systems was a logical step to rounding out our complete package,” Tyler Player said in a statement.

“Having the complete process expertise is critical to the success of Delta Biofuel, and our willingness to commit to shared success has been the basis for all of our company’s achievements.”

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