Rentech South has big plans for new site

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

DUBUQUE, Iowa &8212; Joe Regnery likes to think of chicken when he talks about the Rentech project in Adams County.

For Regnery, project manager of Rentech South &8212; the newly named coalsto-liquid facility being planned for Adams County &8212; the Bellwood Country Club site near the Adams County Port is practically perfect for his company.

That is where the chicken comes in.

Email newsletter signup

Having reviewed the site and all the opportunities it offers, Regnery sees nothing that will be wasted in the Rentech South project.

From the coal going in to the waste going out, every part of the project will be used.

&8220;I like to refer to the process in Natchez as &8216;getting every pluck out of the chicken.&8217;,&8221; Regnery said.

And a big chicken it will be. The company said Tuesday

they hope to invest $1 billion to $2 billion dollars in the Adams County plant.

And if all goes as planned they hope to have Rentech South up and running in mid 2011.

In the Grand River Center overlooking the Mississippi River, Regnery and other company officials briefed a group of community leaders from Illinois, Iowa and Mississippi on the progress of the two CTL plants that Rentech hopes to build by 2012 &8212; one in East Dubuque, Ill., and the other in Adams County.

The company hopes both plants will be producing within six years.

After Hurricane Katrina, local officials approached Rentech to create a strategic fuel center using their coal to liquid technology.

&8220;They came to us and said &8216;We have the perfect site.&8217;,&8221; Regnery said.

Sure enough, after a thorough evaluation, Rentech agreed.

From the Mississippi River that will easily allow the transport of coal from Illinois to the three existing water sources on the property that will be used to cool the plant to the use of carbon dioxide gas expelled in the process in existing oil wells in Southwest Mississippi all the conditions were exactly what Rentech needed for its second CTL plant.

Regnery said that the site is very valuable because it offers many advantages to the company.

The greatest of these advantages may be the use of the byproducts of the CTL plant.

In the CTL process, carbon dioxide is released when coal is turned into syngas.

After reviewing the process Rentech discovered a use for the carbon dioxide that is unique to southwest region of the state.

If all goes as planned, Rentech hopes to supply the gas to be injected into old oil wells in a process called enhanced oil recovery.

When injected the gas &8220;captures the oil that would have been otherwise stranded,&8221; Regnery said.

The use of the gas could make otherwise abandoned wells useful again.

With the number of old oil wells in the region, this could be a great boon to the area, Regnery said.

&8220;That is the greatest advantage to this site.&8221; Regnery said.

Other adavantages to the site include its proximity to a metal fabrication plant for construction and a potential customer for the steam the fuel plant will produce.

Overall, Rentech is very positive about the Adams County project.

&8220;We are faced with a realistic project timeline, we have and advantageous location,&8221; Regnery said. &8220;This is the next step for Rentech.&8221;

Adams County Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said now is the time to do the project, and Adams County is the place.

&8220;You can&8217;t beat this deal,&8221; he said. &8220;The more we look into this thing the more you have to ask how perfect can it get.&8221;