Categorized | Business news, Economic development, Energy, Manufacturing, National, New Albany, Northeast Mississippi

Biodiesel plant owner lost millions, fined in Ark. venture

Be sure to read today’s story in the Daily Journal about JNS Biofuels, the plant that exploded and burned 01221405 Bio-plant explosionfor two days last week in New Albany, and its owner. Here are excerpts:

The owner of the biodiesel plant in New Albany that exploded last week said his losses could exceed $500,000, but that he intends to rebuild.

“We’ll be right back here,” said Steve Bolin, who owns JNS Biofuel. He also said his insurance would not cover the loss of the plant, only the cleanup.

“I wished I had gotten insurance on the rest of it,” he said Sunday.

Bolin also said he invested “a couple million dollars” in the facility.

It’s an investment that Arkansas native Bolin has made before.

Bolin was president of Pinnacle Biofuels in Crossett, Ark., which produced biodiesel in 2008-09, but he reportedly lost millions on the project.

In addition, the plant was fined tens of thousands of dollars in July 2010 for violating several state environmental regulations related to storing and transporting glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel production.

In testimony during an administrative law hearing related to the fines in February 2011, Bolin said Pinnacle was started in 2007-08 by five farmer and rancher friends, including himself, with no previous experience in the biodiesel business.

“I wasn’t the owner of that plant, I was only an investor in it,” Bolin said.

Bolin, in court testimony, said about $15 million was invested in the plant in the Crossett Industrial Park, but in three years, it never made a profit.

Bolin’s tax returns showed losses of $3.3 million in 2008, $2.3 million in 2009 and $1.6 million in 2010.

The plant ceased biodiesel production on Dec. 31, 2009, according to a court document.

It was revealed in the 2011 hearing that the glycerin produced at the Pinnacle plant was labeled a hazardous waste by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality because of its low flash poin – 74 degrees Fahrenheit. The flash point is the temperature at or above which a liquid gives off enough flammable vapor to form a mixture that can be ignited by contact with a hot surface, spark or flame. The lower the flash point, the greater the fire hazard.

ADEQ said Pinnacle at one point shipped the glycerin to Ash Grove Cement Co., which was certified as a treatment, storage, disposal facility, or TSDF. But ADEQ said Pinnacle had stopped shipping it to Ash Grove, and from March to December of 2009 shipped 17 5,000-gallon loads to Clearwater Paper Corp.

…. Bolin reiterated that he did not own the plant and that he was merely an investor.

“All due diligence was done over eight months and another company bought it,” Bolin said “But I’m not here to talk about all that because it’s done. If you want to talk about New Albany, I’ll talk about that.”

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FOR MORE, click here for the full story.

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