Commissioning complete at first of three Mississippi plants

By Susanne Retka Schill
Posted August 26, 2009, at 7:07 a.m. CST

Commissioning is complete at a retrofitted biodiesel plant at Houston, Miss., recently purchased by Mississippi Investment Petroleum Co. LLC. MIPCO purchased the plant from Tri-State Petroleum Products LLC, retrofitting the plant with its own reactor designed to process poultry fat and waste vegetable oil. Jon Lunsford, CEO, said they were awaiting confirmation that the fuel meets ASTM standards before starting production at the 8 MMgy plant.

The Houston, Miss., plant is actually the second project launched by MIPCO. Ground work had begun at the first project planned at Aberdeen, Miss., Lunsford said, when the Aberdeen mayor requested the project be put on hold while the city applied for a grant to help with road access in the industrial area. "What was supposed to be a 60-day delay turned into 120 days," Lunsford said. Construction on the 10 MMgy facility is set to begin once final permits are in place, with completion anticipated by the end of the year.

MIPCO is in final negotiations on a third facility, a shuttered biodiesel plant at Nettleton, Miss. Lunsford said the deal should be completed within the month and the plant operational within 60 days after closing. MIPCO hopes to achieve a 24 MMgy capacity at Nettleton, he added.

Lunsford and his partner Mike Cook are new to the biodiesel industry. Lunsford is based in Atlanta, where he has worked in the computer industry for 20 years. Cook is based in Madison, Miss., where he works in the medical equipment industry. "I was interested in renewable energy and with my partner in Mississippi got involved with others in the biodiesel industry," Lunsford said.