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Zilkha Biomass Energy Builds Black Pellet Plant with Aconex

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With an output capacity of 275,000 metric tons per year, this will be the first full-scale commercial black pellet production facility in the world.

SELMA, Alabama – Aconex, provider of the world’s most widely used construction project management software, is supporting Zilkha Biomass Energy, a renewable energy company, in the design and building of a black pellet fuel plant. The plant is expected to be completed and fully operational by early 2015.

Zilkha uses the Aconex Online Collaboration Platform to manage project information and processes across a multi-company team of contractors, consultants, subcontractors, and vendors involved in construction of the new plant. The Aconex platform provides a secure, neutral collaboration system for managing workflows and processing RFIs, documents, drawings, and correspondence. Version control ensures that users always have up-to-date project information at their fingertips, and all decisions and actions are maintained in a permanent audit trail for transparency and accountability.

“After reviewing several project information management solutions, we found that Aconex was the best fit for our needs,” said Clyde Stearns, vice president of engineering at Zilkha. “While our selection was based primarily on technology, the company’s training and support of our users have made the total solution even more valuable. Having a central location for all project data and workflows saves time, improves accuracy and reduces overall project risk. In the future, we expect to use Aconex on more complex projects with larger teams and greater volumes of information.”

Clean, Low-Maintenance, Alternative Fuel

The Zilkha Black Pellet is made of woody biomass – compressed green wood that is pre-dried to reduce moisture content. It has higher energy density than conventional white pellets, without the safety risks, and is waterproof to decrease storage and transportation costs. As a next-generation renewable fuel, black pellets can seamlessly replace coal, which is currently the world’s primary source of energy. Zilkha opened its first commercial production facility, with a capacity of 40,000 metric tons per year, in Crockett, Texas in 2010.

Stearns indicated that during the course of the Selma plant construction, users from up to 20 different organizations will review, mark up and approve documents and drawings and communicate with each other on the Aconex platform. Project set-up took two weeks, and users with widely varying technical skills were productive soon after that.

“Our engagement with Zilkha further demonstrates the value of Aconex in the U.S. power sector,” said Frank Kopas, general manager of the Americas at Aconex. “Black pellet technology has the potential to transform the energy industry, providing affordable power to more consumers while reducing the carbon and other harmful emissions produced by coal. We’re pleased with the opportunity to help Zilkha deliver the Selma plant project with the highest possible quality and the lowest possible risk, and we look forward to working with the company on future projects.”

About Aconex

Aconex provides the world’s most widely used Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for managing information and processes between companies throughout the lifecycle of construction and engineering projects. The Aconex suite of solutions – secure, neutral and centralized – enables owners, developers, contractors, and project managers to reduce the cost and risk inherent in capital projects of all sizes and improve efficiency, productivity and accountability for all project participants. Aconex has served projects valued at more than US$800 billion, with over 430,000 users. Clients include many of the world’s leading power companies, nine of the top ten engineering, procurement and construction (EPC/EPCM) firms, 23 of the 25 largest global design firms, and nearly all Fortune 500 construction and engineering companies.

For more information and examples of Aconex in action, www.aconex.com.

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