A Mississippi-based biodiesel company has announced formal plans to build a second, larger plant in the Magnolia state.

Jimmy Chiles, chief operating officer of Biodiesel of Mississippi Inc., said a $4 million refinery, capable of producing 60,000 gallons of biodiesel per day in Aberdeen, Miss., could be up and running as early as Labor Day.

The company's existing refinery is located in Nettleton, Miss.

Chiles said the demand for the alternative fuel, created as a byproduct from crushed soybeans, has continued to significantly rise over recent months.

“I'd say that we can produce 1 gallon of fuel for every five or six requests,” he said.

The demand, he said, has been bolstered by rising crude oil costs, as well as a public better-informed about the economic, environmental and other advantages of using biodiesel — for both vehicles and farm equipment.

More specifically, he said, radio-advertising campaigns led by local soybean associations have been effective.

Separately, Chiles said biodiesel has reached an agreement to provide 187,000 gallons of biodiesel for an electrical power plant in Tennessee — McMinnville Electric Department — that will burn it in a technologically advanced Caterpillar Peak Power Generator currently under construction.

At the new refinery in Aberdeen, research will be conducted to test new equipment hoped to provide a 10- to 12-mpg increase in all gasoline automobiles, as well as another test on diesel technology hoped to increase mileage by 25 percent.

Chiles noted that thus far, biodiesel has been more aggressively pursued by truck drivers than by farmers.

“It's as much an on-road fuel as it is off-road. The demand is bigger for drivers because the cost of fuel is 90 percent of all the costs for a driver, while with a farmer there are other competing costs, such as fertilizers,” he said.

Chiles still remains committed to establishing a refinery in the Delta region, but finding investors has not been easy, primarily due to the volatile cost of soybeans — which account for the biggest percent of operational costs.


e-mail: abell@primediabusiness.com