LSU Career Chats: Drax Partners with LSU

March 12, 2024

Drax Partners with LSU to Support Sustainable Forestry, Renewable Energy

Through a pledge of $62,000, Drax will create a new scholarship fund, support existing funds, and become a sustaining member of LSU’s Center for Energy Studies’ endowment

MONROE, La., Mar. 7, 2024 -- Carbon removals and renewable energy company Drax Group today announced a new partnership with Louisiana State University (LSU) to support students and research associated with sustainable forestry and renewable energy. The collaboration will allow LSU and Drax to help advance energy innovation on a global level, while building on LSU’s legacy of sustainable forestry and innovative energy research. 

"This partnership with LSU is the first of its kind for Drax in Louisiana and exemplifies Drax’s commitment to fostering collaborations,” said Dawn Whitworth, Head of International Partnerships and Advocacy at Drax. “Just like our existing Louisiana operations, our goals are to boost economic development, support future workforce training, and build a foundational knowledge exchange though world-leading research in the fields of renewable energy and sustainability.”

As part of the agreement, Drax has pledged a $55,000 donation to the LSU Foundation to establish a new scholarship and support existing funds to benefit LSU’s College of Agriculture and Department of Career Services. Drax will also become a sustaining member of the LSU Center for Energy Studies’ (CES) endowment through a separate donation of $7,000. 

"As an international leader in agricultural research, education and extension, the LSU College of Agriculture is excited to partner with a global industry leader like Drax,” said Dr. Matt Lee, Vice President of Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture. “LSU prepares the next generation of innovators and leaders for the agricultural and energy sectors, and it seeks to chart new directions in low carbon solutions through this critical partnership. This generous support from Drax will enhance our ability to attract and educate the thought leaders of tomorrow who will secure our future."

Drax’s $62,000 donation to LSU will go toward: 

  • Drax Group Scholarship Fund: A new, non-endowed scholarship fund will be established to benefit undergraduate students currently enrolled or intending to enroll in LSU’s College of Agriculture. Preferential consideration will be given to students with a concentration in forest resource management or forest enterprise.
  • Center for Energy Studies (CES) Endowment: Drax has become a sustaining member of the CES endowment to support its mission of facilitating research and analysis to address energy-related issues and opportunities affecting Louisiana.
  • COA Dean’s Excellence Fund: This existing fund benefits LSU’s College of Agriculture.
  • LSU Olinde Career Center Development Fund: This existing, non-endowed fund benefits LSU’s Olinde Career Center, which helps students find work after completing their education.

Drax will also join the CES Advisory Council, a group of representatives from organizations, companies, state government, and general citizens that provide direction and guidance regarding energy policy and research. The Advisory Council provides research direction and guidance and frequently assists the Center in securing finances.

“Companies globally are actively working on ways to reduce the carbon intensity of their supply chains, and I am eager to continue to learn more about Drax’s work in pursuing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technologies right here in Louisiana” said Greg Upton, Interim Executive Director at LSU’s Center for Energy Studies. “We’re excited to welcome Drax as a sustaining member of our CES endowment and Advisory Council, and we look forward to collaborating to usher in a brighter energy future.”

"What an extraordinary opportunity for LSU students to remain in Louisiana and help shape energy innovation on a global scale."

Jesse Downs, Senior Director, LSU Olinde Career Center

Drax has been an engaged member of Louisiana’s business community for more than a decade. In 2018, Drax established its US headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana, and it currently operates pellet production facilities in Bastrop and Urania. Drax supports thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the state, generating $356 million per year in economic impact in Louisiana alone.

According to Jesse Downs, Senior Director, LSU Olinde Career Center, “LSU Students have boundless potential and are poised to be the renewable energy leaders of tomorrow. The Olinde Career Center is excited about this opportunity to support Drax in building a pipeline of quality talent. What an extraordinary opportunity for LSU students to remain in Louisiana and help shape energy innovation on a global scale.”

LSU's Scholarship First Agenda includes a focus on partnering with industry to find new ways to fuel the nation. An LSU-led team recently won the largest and most competitive grant ever awarded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. The NSF Engines grant will provide up to $160 million to support Louisiana’s energy industry, create jobs in the energy sector, develop innovative solutions to energy challenges and help train the world's energy workforce. The State of Louisiana has also been at the forefront of energy and carbon removals, with the EPA delegating Class VI primacy for carbon storage permitting to Louisiana earlier this year.

To learn more about Drax’s commitment to help Louisiana’s communities, economy, and environment thrive, visit

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.  

Drax’s approximately 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information, visit 

About the LSU Foundation

The LSU Foundation is the primary fundraising entity for academics at LSU. The LSU Foundation's sole purpose is to provide philanthropic support to LSU, which it accomplishes through the work of a campus-wide team of frontline development officers and a support team of advancement services, communications and marketing, donor relations, financial and talent management personnel.  

The LSU Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)3 organization that encourages and receives restricted and unrestricted gifts. It also manages most of the investments and serves as trustee for most of the endowed funds and other private assets contributed for the benefit of LSU. To learn more, visit

About the LSU Center for Energy Studies

The Center for Energy Studies conducts, encourages, and facilitates research and analysis to address energy-related problems or issues affecting Louisiana's economy, environment, and citizenry. The Center's goal is to provide a balanced, objective, and timely treatment of issues with potentially important consequences for Louisiana. For more information, visit