Work will begin shortly to start ground works and construction of a new Accoya® wood production facility in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA, as part of the Accoya USA, LLC (‘Accoya USA’) joint venture between Accsys Technologies PLC and Eastman Chemical Company. Engineering has already commenced and orders for long lead-time equipment have already been placed, and the first Accoya ‘made in the USA’ is expected to reach the market in 2024.
All environmental and construction permits are already secured, and the project is expected to create approximately 50 full-time jobs in its first phase, and more as it becomes operational as a production site. Hundreds of roles will also be created during construction and commissioning. A total of $80 million in bank financing has been secured in addition to the equity provided by Accsys and Eastman, with a total project cost of approximately $136 million.
Addressing opportunity in the North American market
Accoya wood has been consistently growing in popularity globally, with its unmatched combination of high performance characteristics, long-life durability in all conditions, and exceptional sustainability credentials including Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold certification. Currently Accsys produces ~60,000m3 of Accoya per year at its existing site in Arnhem, the Netherlands. This will rise to ~80,000m3 as the company completes final aspects of construction and commissioning a fourth acetylation reactor there. The Accoya USA facility will initially have an annual production capacity of ~43,000m3 (~18 million board feet) provided through two acetylation reactors, replicating Accsys’ proven-successful design, technology and processes 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. As with Accsys’ Dutch facility, the Kingsport plant design incorporates equipment and space to enable future expansion through adding more acetylation reactors.
A joint venture for collaborative excellence
Accoya USA, LLC is a joint venture between Accsys (60%) and Eastman Chemical Company (40%), taking advantage and benefitting from synergies between the two businesses’ respective strengths. Accsys is the only producer of acetylated wood in the world, with proprietary technology, processes and decades of know-how and proven success in the manufacturing, marketing and sales of the sustainable, ultra high-performance building material. Sustainably-grown wood from FSC® certified sources is one key raw material for Accoya production, and acetic anhydride is the other. Eastman Chemical Company is a world leader in chemical engineering and processes, the world’s largest producer of acetic anhydride, and has extensive experience in project leadership for plant design and construction. The Accoya USA facility will be built at and connected into the existing Eastman Kingsport site for seamless supply, integration and agreements in place for ‘closed-loop’ reuse and recycling of acetyls.
Brad Lich, Eastman Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, commented:
“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.”
Rob Harris, Chief Executive of Accsys, said:
“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.
“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.
“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.”
A regulatory news release on this subject was published earlier today and can be read in full at: www.accsysplc.com/investors/regulatory-news/