Greenlight for new Accoya US plant in Tennessee

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The foundation and building of a new Accoya wood production facility in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA, will begin soon as part of the Accoya USA, LLC joint venture between Accsys Technologies PLC and Eastman Chemical Company.

Engineering has already begun, and orders for long-lead-time equipment have been ordered; the first Accoya’made in the USA’ product is projected to hit the market in 2024.

All environmental and building approvals have already been obtained, and the project is expected to generate roughly 50 full-time jobs in its initial phase, with more to follow when it becomes a manufacturing facility. Hundreds of new jobs will be created during the building and commissioning phases.

In addition to the equity supplied by Accsys and Eastman, a total of $80 million in bank financing has been acquired, for a total project cost of roughly $136 million.

With its unrivaled mix of high performance features, long-life durability in all situations, and remarkable sustainability credentials, including Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM Gold certification, Accoya wood has been steadily gaining in popularity across the world.

Accsys currently produces 60,000m3 of Accoya per year at its current facility in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

As the business completes the final stages of construction and commissions a fourth acetylation reactor there, this will increase to 80,000m3.

The Accoya USA facility will initially have an annual production capacity of 43,000m3 (18 million board feet), which will be provided by two acetylation reactors, mirroring Accsys’ proven-successful architecture, technology, and procedures at their Arnhem site.

Independent research has shown an achievable market in North America of at least ten times this initial capacity: between 440,000m3 to 950,000m3 per year. The Kingsport factory, like Accsys’ Dutch facility, incorporates equipment and space to allow for future development by adding more acetylation reactors.

Accoya USA, LLC is a joint venture between Accsys (60%) and Eastman Chemical Company (40%) that capitalizes on and benefits from synergies between the two companies’ respective strengths.

Accsys is the world’s sole manufacturer of acetylated wood, with proprietary technology, processes, decades of know-how, and proven success in the manufacturing, marketing, and sales of the sustainable, super high-performance building material.

One major raw ingredient for Accoya manufacture is sustainably cultivated wood from FSC certified sources, and the other is acetic anhydride.

Eastman Chemical Company is a global leader in chemical engineering and processes, the world’s largest manufacturer of acetic anhydride, and has vast experience in plant design and construction project supervision.

The Accoya USA facility will be built on and connected to the existing Eastman Kingsport site for seamless supply, integration, and agreements in place for ‘closed-loop’ acetyl reuse and recycling.

“We’re pleased to partner with Accsys and excited to achieve this very important milestone. Eastman is committed to becoming a leading sustainable materials company, and Accoya’s value proposition as a sustainable building material is compelling. The great collaboration between our teams brings a wealth of complementary experience and knowledge together, and positions Accoya USA, LLC very well to benefit from the synergy between our acetyls business and the Accoya production process. We look forward to progressing the Accoya USA story and delivering on the great potential in the North American market.” said Brad Lich, Eastman Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

“We are delighted to formally start creating an American home for Accoya production, and increasing our global supply to meet the world’s strong demand for a more sustainable, high-performance building material. This venture will allow Accsys to build its base in North America, where our products have huge potential for market growth.” Rob Harris, President and CEO of Accsys, stated.

“Customers in North America – and globally– recognise the benefits of using Accoya instead of other woods that don’t last as long, or suffer from swelling, shrinking and cracking when wet, and the sustainability benefits compared to other materials are both clear and highly sought-after to decarbonise our built environment. Choosing and using Accoya gives people peace of mind about durability and quality, reduces the environmental impact of construction, and actually increases the carbon sink capacity of our buildings and cities.” Harris continued.

“We’ve previously set out our plan to increase our production capacity five times over by 2025 – from 40,000m3 in 2018/19 to 200,000m3 in 2025, and this milestone is great step forward for our strategic vision. Working closely with Eastman Chemical Company to get the most out of all our collective knowledge, experience and expertise, Accoya USA, LLC is set to have a great impact on North America, on Accsys, and for our purpose of changing wood to change the world.”

Phil is one of our main correspondents based out of Providence, Rhode Island.