Special to the Standard

Clark County has received $95,000 federal grant to help develop a new line of business under which an established company will manufacture fuel pellets using waste products from the company’s timber operations.

The company, Antoine Hardwoods, Inc., will receive technical assistance under a US Department of Agriculture-Rural Development Business Enterprise Grant to create a profitable line of business manufacturing and selling fuel pellets. This Clark County-based operation is expected to create at least 20 new “green” jobs over two years.

Fuel pellets are a key strategy in the push by the federal government to support renewable energy sources, reduce fossil fuel dependency, and limit carbon dioxide release into the atmosphere. Manufacture of wood pellets is already a $770 million industry in the United States, and Antoine Hardwoods could help establish this important industry in southwest Arkansas, which is rich in timber resources.

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