USSEC in ethanol business?

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NATCHEZ — The USSEC Natchez facility was visited Tuesday by the National Energy Commissioner of the Dominican Republic, Doroteo Rodriguez.

The U.S. Sustanable Energy Corp. is a biofuel production and research company that has a facility at the Natchez-Adams Port.

Mayor Phillip West and Adams County Circuit Clerk M.L “Binkey” Vines also visited the facility.

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The USSEC has accidentally expanded into ethanol production, USSEC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Rivera said.

Rivera, whose patented “Rivera Process” is used to render fuel-grade oils from biological matter, said the company did not know they were producing ethanol until outsiders told them so.

Experts from Biocentric Energy — a biofuel development company looking to partner with USSEC — came to observe fuel production by the Rivera process.

The biocentric experts informed Rivera he was producing ethanol along with the other fuel products, he said.

“We were making cellulistic ethanol without our knowledge,” he said.

The quality of the ethanol has been verified by a third-party laboratory, AmSpec, Biocentric Energy Executive Vice-President Dennis Fisher said.

AmSpec officials were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Rivera said his process has opened a new paradigm in energy production because it puts off no carbon emissions.

Carbon byproducts from the process are solid, and are used to make fertilizers.

“We can take any organic product and turn it into biofuel,” Rivera said.

Those products include soybeans, corn, switchgrass, macadamia shells and even chicken litter, he said.

Rivera’s process is considered controversial, and some critics have called it impossible — other companies looking to produce the same fuels in a similar fashion are only in their beta version — but Rivera said critics are not looking at how much fuel his process makes.

Rivera has said in the past his process makes two-and-a-half times the amount of fuel.

One full-scale and two mini-reactors are currently up and running in the Natchez plant, and four more are being constructed.

Rivera announced in December he plans to have the plant at full operation — each of 200 fuel reactors producing 6,000 gallons a day — by next June.