Company says it’s building biofuel plant in Natchez

Published 7:02 pm Friday, December 15, 2006

U.S. Sustainable Energy Corp. says it plans to open a plant here that will produce 1.5 million gallons of biofuel daily.

The company says it makes biodiesel fuel from soybeans. This week, it bought a warehouse and the surrounding land near the Natchez-Adams County Port Facility, officials said.

According to the USSEC Web site, the company acquired the 35 acres through an affiliated holding company. The deed lists the company as being based in Florida.

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While the Web site said the property was appraised at $8.9 million, John Rivera, Sustainable Energy’s chief executive officer, said his company paid less than that but more than $6 million.

Rivera said he planned to have the plant at full production in 18 months and employ 300 people, possibly eventually hiring hundreds more.

The plant and the process will be unique, Rivera said.

“Its a totally new process. I’m the inventor,” Rivera told The Natchez Democrat. “I make 5 gallons of fuel per bushel of soybeans. Everybody else makes 1 1/2.”

Rivera said he had closed his research and development plant in Port Gibson, which he said produced 6,000 gallons of the fuel a day.

About 15 people were working at the warehouse Wednesday, installing lights and moving the materials stored there.

“We hope to have our first four reactors up in the next six weeks,” Rivera said. Eventually, “we will have 200 reactors,” he said.

The warehouse was sold to USSEC Riverside II LLC by MSIP I Natchez LLC, an out-of-state company. In the past, former Natchez mayor Larry “Butch” Brown, among others, owned the warehouse.

Adams County Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said Wednesday was the first time he had heard of the sale. Grennell said he needed more information before he could comment.