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10-acre biorefinery coming to Berkeley County

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Charleston International Manufacturing Center | Photo provided by Cookerly PR

Last week, Mainstream Pine Products announced plans to build a crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery at the Charleston International Manufacturing Center located in Berkeley County.

The 10-acre, $90 million biorefinery will be an advanced recycling facility with capacity to process 110,000 tons of CTO for use in a wide range of industrial operations + products.

Not quite sure what CTO is? To break it down, crude tall oil is a renewable product derived from tree sap. During paper production, the sap is separated out because it is not used in the process. It is then separated into tree rosin + tall oil fatty acids, which are further refined and chemically reacted. The chemical product – CTO – is then used for a large variety of things like inks, paints, adhesives, rubber additives + more. For a deeper dive, check out this crash course on CTO production by American Chemistry.

Through this process, biorefineries become a greener, more sustainable version of traditional petroleum refineries. These facilities utilize biomasssuch as pine trees – to produce energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from oil production.

Berkeley County’s new biorefinery facility will serve as the centerpiece of Mainstream’s mission to become the highest quality, lowest cost producer of CTO derivatives in North America that will help meet the increasing demand of renewable energy. The plant will also create more jobs + career opportunities in the Lowcountry.

Mainstream Pipe Products anticipates breaking ground + beginning construction later this year, with operations beginning in 2023.

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