New Accoya production begins construction in Tennessee, US

Private residence in Texas, US, made with Accoya wood. Accoya is already used in a range of projects throughout North America (Image: Costa Christ, via Accsys)

Accsys has reported that a new Accoya wood production facility will begin ground works and construction in Kingsport, Tennessee, US, as part of Accoya USA, a joint venture between Accsys Technologies and Eastman Chemical Company.

Accsys produces acetylated wood, and Eastman Chemical Company specialises in chemical engineering and processes and produces acetic anhydride, and has extensive experience in project leadership for plant design and construction.

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 US$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 $136m.

Currently, Accsys produces around 60,000m3 of Accoya per year at its existing site in Arnhem, the Netherlands. This will rise to approximately 80,000m3 as the company completes final aspects of construction and commissioning a fourth acetylation reactor there.

According to Accsys, the Accoya USA facility will initially have an annual production capacity of around 43,000m3, which is approximately 18 million board feet, provided through two acetylation reactors, replicating Accsys’ design, technology and processes at their Arnhem site.

As with Accsys’ Dutch facility, the Kingsport plant design incorporates equipment and space to enable future expansion through adding more acetylation reactors.

Rob Harris, chief executive of Accsys, commented: “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.

“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 is set to have a great impact on North America, on Accsys, and for our purpose of changing wood to change the world.”

Brad Lich, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of Eastman, added: “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.”

Engineering has already commenced and orders for long lead-time equipment have already been placed, with the plant expected to reach the market in 2024.