Elevance gets to work without starting constructionPublished 12:01am Sunday, March 11, 2012
Since coming to town, Elevance has become involved in the community as a corporate sponsor of last month’s Junior Auxiliary River City Run, in which Diesen said he personally participated.
He said he also had an opportunity to mingle with Natchezians when Elevance sponsored a table along with Natchez Inc. at the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce gala in December.
Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said Diesen will be an asset to Elevance and the community.
“We’ve enjoyed getting to meet Kevin, and what he brings to the table with background and knowledge within that industry is tremendous,” Russ said.
Here to stay
Diesen said the existing infrastructure at the Elevnace plant has been functioning in line with the company’s expectations and has been keeping its employees busy at the plant, but he wouldn’t say how many employees the company has hired.
Russ said at a recent Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting, however, that Elevance now has 25 employees.
Because the company has filed for an initial public offering, Elevance is restricted from releasing too many details about its operations and plans to avoid leaking information that could sway their investors.
On the heels of news about Rentech abandoning major projects in Natchez, Elevance spokesman Rick Black did offer some words to local skeptics tired of being burned by promises from big industry.
“We’re committed to Natchez, and we’re committed to executing our plans,” Black said.
“I think the fact that Kevin is there … to locate someone with over 25 years of experience and a qualified individual, speaks to that point.”
What will they do?
In June, Barbour announced Elevance Renewable Science’s plans to buy the former Delta Fuels facility and open a plant in Natchez.
The Bolingbrook, Ill., based specialty chemical company pledged to add 165 permanent jobs, 300 temporary construction jobs and invest $225 million within five years.
Using natural oils, such as soy oil, palm oil or canola oil, Elevance creates chemicals that serve as ingredients in everyday products.
Personal care products, (such as make-up), lubricants (such as motor oil), detergents, fuels and other chemical markets can use the variety of chemicals.
A biorefinery is a facility that uses renewable feedstocks to produce multiple products. The biorefinery concept is analogous to today’s petroleum refinery, which produces multiple fuels and products from petroleum, the company’s website says.
Elevance is the first company to make chemicals formerly derived from petroleum or natural gas out of renewable resources, Johnson said. The company got its start when it was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy in 2004.
The first $100-million construction phase should commence in time for operations to start in 2013, the company said in SEC filings.
The second $125-million construction phase will start sometime after the first phase, but not necessarily after phase one is completed. Both phases should be complete in approximately five years.