• Mainstream Pine Products LLC

Mainstream Pine Products to build crude tall oil plant in South Carolina


Photo: Charleston International Manufacturing Center

Mainstream Pine Products LLC announced plans in late January for an estimated $90 million crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery at the Charleston International Manufacturing Center in Berkeley County, South Carolina. The biorefinery will be a highly advanced recycling facility with capacity to process 110,000 tons of CTO for use in a wide range of industrial applications.


This facility will serve as the centerpiece of Mainstream’s strategy to become the highest quality, lowest cost producer of CTO derivatives in North America. The company anticipates breaking ground and starting construction later this year with operations commencing in 2023.


CTO is a renewable, nonfood resource and a byproduct of pine trees used in paper manufacturing. It is a vital component of many chemicals including renewable diesel, lubricants, adhesives, inks, paints, coatings, and tire and rubber additives.


“We conducted deep-dive market studies and reviewed pine chemical industry cycles,” said Rob Helwick, president and CEO of Mainstream Pine Products. “The increasing demand for renewable, nonfood source materials led us to a nationwide search for the best location in which to expand our operations. The Goose Creek site was unsurpassed among many we considered. It affords us an ideal manufacturing location in an integrated industrial park with reliable infrastructure and intermodal access for efficient delivery of source materials and shipping of refined products.”


With access to interstate highways, deep water shipping and rail facilities, Mainstream’s 10- acre facility will feature industry-leading NEXPINUS technology provided by Neste Engineering Solutions Oy. The associated project management and engineering will be provided by PegasusTSI Inc. and supported by Neste Engineering Solutions.


Mainstream has also established a long-term raw material supply chain and has engaged Citigroup Global Markets Inc. to serve as the underwriter for its tax-exempt project financing.


“It is important for us to develop our line of renewable products in a plant that meets the most rigorous environmental standards,” Helwick said. “All things being equal, we believe the general population prefers renewable products, and the biorefinery acknowledges the world’s increasing demand for more sustainable goods.”


Mainstream will be located in the 1,750-acre advanced manufacturing park at Charleston Industrial Manufacturing Center owned and operated by Cooper River Partners. The center offers rail and deep-water access via barge. CRP provides utility services to tenants, such as steam, compressed air, process water and more.


“We are excited to welcome Mainstream to the growing list of companies that call Charleston International Manufacturing Center home,” said Kent Fonvielle, president of Cooper River Partners. “Through providing reliable and cost-effective industrial services, CRP looks forward to supporting Mainstream’s successful growth.”


Mainstream Pine Products was founded in 2019 by a group of investors dedicated to using specialty chemicals from pine trees in a variety of downstream products for complex industries. Central to the company’s value proposition is the construction and operation of a new crude tall oil biorefinery along coastal South Carolina to open in 2023.

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