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Work Starts on Tyson Biofuels Plant

by 5m Editor
13 January 2009, at 9:54am

US – Building work has started in Geismar, Louisiana, on the new plant being built by Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture between Tyson Foods and Syntroleum Corporation.

Construction offices are now in place and concrete foundations are being poured for the new facility.

Tyson says that the project remains on budget and on schedule for startup in early 2010.

Once in operation, the new facility will use Syntroleum’s Bio-Synfining Technology to convert animal fats and greases provided by Tyson into ultra-clean renewable diesel and jet fuel.

"There has been great progress in the last 18 months since the formation of Dynamic Fuels, as we have gone from concept to actually pouring concrete for the first renewable synthetic fuels plant in the United States," said Jeff Bigger, senior vice president of business development for Syntroleum.

"With the support of the State of Louisiana, outstanding effort and teamwork from the people working day to day on the project and the support of both Tyson Foods and Syntroleum we have been able to maintain our original project budget, economics and schedule for the Geismar facility."

Jeff Webster, group vice president of Tyson's Renewable Products Division, said: "We're pleased with the progress made on this important renewable fuels project.

"Tyson is committed to revolutionising the conversion of raw materials and by-products into high-margin initiatives, and the Dynamic Fuels venture is a cornerstone of this corporate strategy."

The project is scheduled for mechanical completion by year end 2009, followed by commissioning, start-up and ramp up to full rate operations by mid-year 2010.

Due to the long lead times required to build some of the process equipment, the company began the bidding process for this equipment in November 2007. To date, Dynamic Fuels has ordered 36 long lead equipment items, including, three reactors, seven storage tanks, 14 heat exchangers, three separators, three pump packages, one membrane unit, two compressor packages and two tank mixers. These items are scheduled for delivery in the second and third quarter of 2009.

The facility cost estimate is $138 million. The project is being funded by cash investments from Tyson Foods and Syntroleum, plus the GO Zone bond proceeds. To date Tyson and Syntroleum have invested a total of $28 million ($14 million each). The GO Zone Bond proceeds were approximately $100 million. Tyson and Syntroleum agreed a projected December 30, 2008 cash investment was not needed and that future investments would be made as the cash is needed to meet project expenses.

Staffing with permanent plant personnel is expected to start mid-year 2009 as construction progresses and plant start-up approaches.