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Rentech in Site Negotiations for Coal-to-Liquids “Strategic Fuels Plant”

The proposed site is a former country club now attached to the Natchez Adams County Industrial Park & Port.

Rentech has entered into an agreement with the Adams County, Mississippi Board of Supervisors which provides a six-month exclusivity for the parties to negotiate a contract under which Rentech would purchase or lease a site on a long-term basis for a proposed 10,000-plus barrel per day Fischer-Tropsch coal-to-liquids (CTL) strategic fuels plant. (Earlier post.)

Rentech is proposing to build and operate the CTL plant at an industrial site located just outside the Natchez city limits and along the Mississippi river in Adams county. The earlier estimated cost of the plant is between $650 million and $750 million.

Synthetic fuels from the plant would be used within the region and in crisis situations such as those resulting from the strikes by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The fuels from the 10,000-plus barrel per day plant would be provided preferentially to emergency facilities and first responders for their backup power and fuel needs.

According to Rentech, CTL diesel fuels have a shelf life of at least eight years where petroleum-based diesel fuels must be rotated on a regular basis every three to six months due to the formation of gum residues in the fuel. By having a reliable standby fuel with a long shelf life, emergency agencies will be able to supply the necessary support immediately during critical situations like those presented during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Adams/Natchez site is well-suited for the project as it has existing barge and rail access. The property is situated on a very level geographical plane, making it easy to ship and receive coal feedstocks and products from the north or south on the Mississippi, as well as receive ocean-going barges.

Rentech hopes to build the plant by 2010.



It seems ironic that to respond to Katrina type events caused by high atmospheric CO2 there has to be even more CO2 from CTL. The 'strategic' angle sounds suspiciously like an attempt to get into the market. This could be the new excuse for farting in an elevator ... 'it was strategic'.


I'm all for cutting CO2 but I like facts, and the fact is that global warming had no impact on the hurricans this year, and the environmentalists are simply saying that to scare people into taking their positions. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has said several times that the increased hurricans are due to global weather cycles, and not due to global warming. These cycles last for up to 2 or 3 decades, and we are in the middle of one.

Meteorologists refer to such an active hurricane cycle as the “multi-decadal signal.” It can last for 30 years. The current period began in 1995. A record 26 tropical storms formed this season, which began June 1 and ends today.

“It’s not related” to global warming, Bell said. The same conditions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s, the last period of above-normal hurricane activity. … .


Ward - In a way you are correct however the worry is that increase warming will drive these cycles closer together making large storms more common in the future. This year is a record year and in the normal course of events another like it would not be expected for 20 or 30 years. Increased warming could make the next record year 2010 and the next 2012 and so on leading to this part of the coast being unihabitable.


Ender-That's just it; it is a "worry" or concern that is often offered as scientific fact. Some computer models support your concern, but they are just models.
I understand much of the "better safe than sorry" arguments as well, but in shaping policy on a "what if" notion, we are handing government enormous amounts of power over economics,industry, and quality of life; power they are not likely to hand back.


Global warming is far from a "what if" reality.

Don't worry - If we handed bushit a little responsibility, he wouldn't know what to do with it. probably stick it up his ass.


"Global warming is far from a 'what if' reality."

A statement that I have heard many times. I'm still waiting for someone to offer substantial evidence to support it.


How do the greenie frootloops explain the previous cycles of warming and cooling that the earth has recorded?

Can the lack of Kyoto signing REALLY be the cause of all the earth's ice ages, glacial advance and retreat over the eons of time?

Perhaps Al Gore is exhaling to much CO2 in his mad ravings?

Luddites and Anarchists are amazing to behold.


To be fair, I don't think their claim is that man-made CO2 is it cause for all climate change. However, you are right that proponents of "man-made" global climate change, to my knowledge, have not offered any substantial evidence that current climate change is connected to human CO2 emissions.


The simple fact is that except for made up suppositions and biased models of the fundamentalist true believers, there are no data to support the global warming theorists.

It's like religion: You either believe it or you don't, and data makes little impact on the fundamentalist true believers.

They were called Luddites in an earlier time. Their political agenda is more important to them than having any data to support their theories.

Also note the immediate descent into name calling and vile cursing. Lucas is a good representative of their thought process and presentation skills.


Coming from you ... All I can say is; Thank You!

Roger Arnold

To get back to the substance of the article, the point about using FT liquids for emergency equipment is valid, and one I hadn't thought of before. The straight-chain hydrocarbons that FT synthesis produces not only burn much more cleanly than the witches brew one gets from crude oil, but should have an almost indefinite "shelf life" in the tanks of emergency generators.

As to increased CO2 emissions from the manufacturing of FT liquids from coal, there's a good way to deal with that. I'd like to see legislation that would tie licensing of CTL plants to purchase of carbon-free electrical power. The electrical power would be used for electrolysis of water. It would have to produce enough oxygen to drive the coal gasification. The electrolytic hydrogen would be added to the output from the gasification step, increasing the yield of synthesis gas. The result would be a CTL process with zero CO2 emissions in the manufacturing step. 100% of the carbon in the coal would end up in the output of FT liquids and light hydrocarbon gases.

I don't think the energy industry would strongly oppose such legislation, and they might support it. Not only would it be good PR, but at the prices that FT liquids command, the enhanced yields would pay off, even for relatively expensive "green" electricity. The return on financial investment wouldn't be as good as simply consuming more coal to get the same output, but it would still be positive. And the purchase of all that green power for electrolysis would do wonders for the technologies involved.

The cost to energy companies of a bad public image can be very large. In the Australian Green Peace campaign that killed the Stuart oil shale project, the issue that had by far the most traction with the public was high CO2 emissions. If Queensland Energy Resources had committed to using green power to completely eliminate CO2 emissions from the synfuel production, they'd have avoided the loss of their investment in the project.


Roger are you sure the mass and energy balances are viable? Is the dollar cost affordable? A link to a study would be good. For example I thought that pure oxygen firing of coal still produced some unusable CO2. I agree that hydrocarbon fuels have to be used well into the future given the huge investment in vehicles. Therefore some other GHG emitters will have to be taken out.

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