Delta-Energy to start soon

Published 12:13 am Monday, May 4, 2015

NATCHEZ — Delta-Energy should start operations within a month to five weeks, a company official said Friday.

Delta-Energy announced plans to open a carbon solids and hydrocarbon recapturing facility on 30 acres of the former International Paper property in February.

The company has moved the equipment from its first plant in North Dakota to Natchez for its first line of products and plans to install seven more, said John Rollins, a company official.

Email newsletter signup

“We have spent or committed to spend $8 million between the purchase of the property from the county and in improvements,” Rollins said. “That will expand to $45 million over the next 24 months, and essentially that (expansion) is increments of production as we go up.”

The plant will run 24 hours a day, so the company is looking for people who will be willing to do shift work, Rollins said.

“We are looking for folks that have basic mechanical skills, people that understand machinery and are comfortable working around machinery,” he said. “Most of what we are looking for are characteristics of reliability, discipline, that sort of thing.”

Rollins said the company plans to hire approximately 100 people in the first year.

“You have schools and training structures in the State of Mississippi that give us the confidence we are going to have a mechanism by which we can hire and train people not only for this operation,” Rollins said. “We are expecting to build a second and third one of these (plants) that will offer job opportunities for people here to pursue.”

The Delta-Energy process makes use of used tires that have been chopped into pieces approximately the size of a pecan, Rollins said.

“Other recyclers use heat and pressure and catalysts, but we use heat and vacuum and catalysts,” he said. “All those wonderful combinations and molecules unzip.”

When the vapors and the solids from the tire pieces separate, Delta takes the vapors, cools and stores them and sells them to the refining and petrochemical business, Rollins said.

“It looks for all intents and purposes like crude oil,” Rollins said.

The solids are cooled, ground into beads and sold to rubber compounders, he said, which reduces the dependence of the tire industry on virgin carbon product.

The company will use electricity as its source of heat, Rollins said.

“We will easily become Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association’s — if not biggest customer — certainly a big customer,” he said.

Hiring for Delta-Energy is being done through the WIN Job Center at 107 Col. John Pitchford Parkway.

Rollins’ comments were made at the weekly Friday Forum at the Natchez Coffee Company.