Canadian Biomass Magazine

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Matt White to run Drax’s US biomass operations


January 7, 2020
By Drax Biomass

Drax Biomass, Inc. announced today that Matt White will become its new senior vice-president and run Drax’s U.S. biomass operations from its headquarters in Monroe, La.

Drax Biomass produces sustainable, compressed wood pellets used to generate flexible, renewable electricity in Drax Power Station in England, delivering carbon savings of more than 80 per cent compared to when it used coal.

Drax Biomass uses the port in Baton Rouge/Port Allen and three compressed wood pellet plants: Morehouse BioEnergy in Bastrop, La., LaSalle BioEnergy in Urania, La., and Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Miss.

The company recently announced plans to increase the amount of biomass it supplies to its own power station in the UK from 1.2 million to five million tonnes per year.

Will Gardiner, chief executive of Drax Group, said:

“I am pleased to welcome Matt to Drax Group. Our purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and the sustainably sourced wood pellets which Drax Biomass makes are crucial to that.

Using wood pellets as a source of electricity is great for forests because long-term markets for the low-value wood fibre we use encourages replanting and better forest management. It also supports rural communities in Louisiana and Mississippi.”

Matt White said:

“This is an exciting time to join Drax Biomass as the business seeks to grow its wood pellet output to five million tonnes per year while maintaining a focus on safety and operational excellence. Drax has an impressive commitment to support the communities in which it operates by promoting sustainable forestry and investing in local development, so I am looking forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Matt joins Drax from Rockwater Energy (now Select Energy Services), a chemicals and logistics provider to the oil industry where he was director of manufacturing and engineering.

Most of Matt’s career has been in manufacturing management helping organizations grow, adapt to change and increase safety and efficiency by developing high-performing teams. A mechanical engineer by background, Matt has worked in a number of sectors including air products and chemicals, and with Solvay’s guar/oxide manufacturing.

Reporting to Matt will be:

  • Todd Tolkinen, vice-president commercial operations responsible for business development, environment, safety and legal and compliance
  • Jim Stemple, senior director procurement
  • Randy Webster, director of engineering
  • Richard Lamb, vice-president operations responsible for plants and logistics