Rentech’s Colorado project moves ahead

Published 12:10 am Friday, January 18, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Thursday Rentech announced that their facility in Commerce City, Co., is on track to be operational by spring of this year.

Rentech’s Commerce City plant will essentially be a small-scale version of that they plan to build in Natchez.

However, Rentech’s Director of Investor Relations Julie Dawoodjee could not say exactly when in the spring the plant would be up and running.

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And even though the plant has no set date to open, it has created a buzz around Rentech’s offices, Dawoodjee said.

Dawoodjee said the Colorado plant was built with the intent to serve more than one function.

Basically the plant will give potential investors and purchasers an opportunity to see what Rentech can actually do.

And the plant will also serve as a training facility for Rentech’s workers.

Dawoodjee said while the plant will operate on a small scale, only about 10 barrels per day, it still provides Rentech an opportunity to show their product off.

Rentech’s Colorado plant will primarily be making diesel and aviation fuel.

But before they can start cranking out those barrels of fuel they must first finish one critical step — putting the plant together.

Dawoodjee said while all of the plant’s components are on site and in place, they must still be assembled.

“All the major equipment is installed it just needs to be interconnected,” she said.

So while barrels of what Rentech hopes will be ultra-clean fuel are still months away, the prospect of being so close to production is still extremely exciting, Dawoodjee said.

While the prospect of 10 barrels per day may not sound exciting, it actually represents a major first step on Rentech’s road to Natchez.

As of now Rentech is only making their ultra-clean fuel in small batches in laboratories.

In comparison, Rentech hopes to make approximately 1,500 barrels per day in their first stages of production, then up to 25,000 barrels per day when the Natchez plant is running at full capacity.

Rentech’s Chief Technology Officer Harold Wright said the Colorado plant will give the company an opportunity to work out any problems before the full-scale operation comes to Natchez.

“It’s great to see it coming together like this,” he said.

Some of the first barrels that Rentech produces will be sold to potential customers, Wright said.

Rentech is set to purchase the former International Paper land from the county by April 1.