Natchez biodiesel producer signs with marketer

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, June 14, 2007

Delta BioFuels, which began biodiesel production at its Natchez plant in May, has signed with Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. to market its products.

The plant is currently making what averages to be 18 million gallons a year, President Clint Vegas said Tuesday.

With the contract, signed with Pekin, Ill.-based Aventine, the plant will eventually produce 80 million gallons each year, Vegas said.

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“They’re going to buy everything we make,” Vegas said of Aventine. “For us, what it does is provide instant logistics, which is where we were going to get strangled.”

He said Aventine will handle rail, barge and truck transportation.

“It will allow us to ramp up our volume in ways we couldn’t otherwise do,” he said.

For Aventine, the marketing agreement is a big step, too, company biodiesel manager Kevin Lockart said Tuesday.

The contract is the company’s first with a biodiesel producer, Lockart said.

“This is a doorway for us — it’s a great start for us,” Lockart said. “Their job is to produce biodiesel, which is what they’re best at. We, in turn, market the product as well as move the product. We’re just real excited to be a part of it.”

One advantage of the Natchez plant, from a shipping standpoint, is the Mississippi River, Lockart said.

“Location, location, location,” he said. “The port is right there, so it’s kind of a supermarket to the world. It’s just perfect.”

The Delta BioFuels plant is located on more than 60 acres near the Natchez-Adams County port on the Mississippi River. Besides barge access, the plant is served by Canadian Railways and has fully functioning tank truck loading and unloading facilities, Vegas said.

The Natchez facility will approach 80 to 100 million gallons per year of capacity by the end of 2007.

Aventine is a leading producer, marketer and end-to-end distributor of ethanol to many leading energy companies in the United States. Aventine is also a marketer and distributor of biodiesel. In addition to ethanol, Aventine also produces distillers grains, corn gluten feed, corn germ and brewers’ yeast.

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