UPDATE–Cellulosic Diesel and Ethanol Plant to Employee 250January 11th, 2009 by Joe Burgess
MonticelloLive recently spoke with Bill Horton, CEO of the DFI group, w conshich is contructing the Bio-Diesel plant at Jerome, and asked him about the progress of construction of the proposed faclity, which will possibly employ up to 250.
Horton updated us on the building process saying that they have received water and drainage permits, and are expecting to receive the additional required permits in the next couple of weeks.
Construction is likely to begin with dirt moving, possibly within a 30 day period.
More information is included in the original story below.
The story below posted on August 14, 2008
Cellulosic Diesel and Ethanol Plants Set for Construction in/near Drew County-Expected to Employee 250
It was announced Wednesday that construction is set to begin on a series of 3 cellulosic fuel plants in Southeast Arkansas, 2 will be built in Jerome, in Drew County, with the other in Ashley County, also near Jerome
According to state representative Allen Maxwell, the 2 Jerome plants will produce bio-deisel, and the nearby Ashley County will manufacture ethanol.
The construction office is already set up on location, and site preparation is expected to begin by Septemmber. Construction is estimated to take 8 months from that point in time.
The plants will be supplied by algae, that can be grown on out of service catfish ponds. The catfish industry has seen increasing financial hardships, so this may come as welcome relief to local catfish growers.
When the plants are fully operational, they are jointly estimated to employee around 200 people as staff, and provide around 50 additional jobs in associated fields, such as algae farming and transportation. Wages are expected to average around the $32,000 range.
Sections of the first plant is being constructed in Stuttgart, and then will be shipped to Drew County to be assembled as the final construction takes place. The second bio-diesel plant will simply be a reproduction of the first.
Construction costs of the bio-diesel plants will be around $25 million each, with the ethanol facility being expected to cost in the area $250 million.
Cellulosic algae has a dry weight that is 70% oil. The bio-diesel production process will produce a by-product, known as “algae cake”, which can then be used as the main resource to supply the ethanol plant.Â The by-product from the ethanol process can then be used in the production of animal foods.
Maxwell told MonticelloLive that Arkansas weather is excellent for algae growth. Another benefit is that catfish farmers will be able to grow algae with less water usage, shallower ponds, and less energy use than the catfish farming process requires.
The Ashley County plant will be built just across the county line, on a nearby railroad. Maxwell added that these new facilities will increase the opportunities to get rail service into the Yellow Bend Port, as well.
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