Natchez plant construction on schedule

Published 6:18 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The fuel plant planned for Natchez is on schedule and could open as early as 2011, a spokesman for Rentech Inc., says.

The coal-to-liquid plant has been estimated as a $1 billion to $2 billion project and would employ 200 people, while producing up to 10,000 barrels of clean alternative fuel a day.

Project Manager Joe Regnery plans to be in Natchez in January for further engineering work at the proposed site of the plant, the former Belwood Country Club property.

Rentech, a Colorado-based research and development company, signed an agreement earlier this month with the Mingo County Redevelopment Authority in Williamson, W.Va., for the development of a fuel plant there. Regnery said that has no effect on the progress of the Natchez plant.

The company is presently concentrating on a plant at East Dubuque, Ill., with the Natchez plant next on their list.

“The Natchez project is coming right along, right behind the East Dubuque project,” said Woody Allen, chairman of the Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority, said Monday.

The 2006 session of the Mississippi Legislature approved $15 million for site work.

Coal and/or petroleum coke products will be transported on the Mississippi River to the Natchez port for use at the plant.

The coal-to-liquid process releases carbon dioxide, which can be captured and marketed to companies recovering oil in old wells in Southwest Mississippi. The carbon dioxide is injected into the old wells to enhance the process.

Rentech was incorporated in 1981 and has developed technologies based on the Fischer-Tropsch process for making clean fuel products.