In the Tuesday, Nov. 16 edition of The Panolian, it was stated that Panola County resident Larry Freeman, former vice-president of THI, Inc. in Batesville, was co-founder of Biodiesel of Mississippi along with William Tacker. The article should have stated that William Tacker, of Tupelo, is the CEO of Biodiesel of Mississippi.
Ten years in the planning, and two and one-half years in construction, Biodiesel of Mississippi has the capacity to turn out a whopping 100 gallons per minute of the white crude.
The new plant, officially set to open in a few weeks, converts soybean oil into clean-burning fuel. When open, the fuel will sell for about $1.50 per gallon, far under unleaded gasoline prices of up to $2.20 per gallon.
The fuel isn’t just for diesel-powered automobiles and trucks. Many large companies throughout the region are using biodiesel in other engines. According to Tacker, McMinnville Electric System in McMinnville, Tennessee is installing a 2,000-kilowatt Caterpillar generator connected to a non-SCR catalytic nitrogen oxide reduction system which will run on bio diesel fuel. The company will be putting out less pollution than before by using the electricity fueled from a clean, biodiesel fuel. McMinnville Electric system has contracted with Biodiesel of Mississippi to supply the fuel.
Because the biofuel is grown and produced domestically, it helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil, helps boost the economy, and helps to strengthen the U.S. energy security. According to Tacker, Biodiesel of Mississippi is the only refinery in the state using soybean oil to produce fuel.
Biofuels such as the biodiesel produced in Nettleton are a renewable and virtually inexhaustible source of fuel.
Even when the diesel made from soybeans is used to blend with regular diesel, it can still reduce many of the harmful pollutants associated with petroleum-based diesel.
The company is capable of producing 100 gallons per minute, and is averaging 25,000 gallons per day of biodiesel.
The Nettleton plant is the first one of its type in the world using hydrogen (Brown’s gas), says Tacker, giving the plant the lowest production cost in the nation.
Biodiesel of Mississippi has been in the planning for 10 years and two and one-half years in construction. and is already planning expansion. Tacker said they plan to build new refineries in Birmingham, Al., McNimble, TN., and another site in the northwest Delta of Mississippi. The company is also working as a technical consultant to help a sister company which plans to build seven biodiesel refineries in California.
Biodiesel of Mississippi has spent millions to convert the former Bunge Grain Elevator in Nettleton into a refinery. Nettleton, a small town of less than 2,000 people, is located south of Tupelo on Highway 45.
According to its proponents, biodiesel has considerable environmental and health benefits. Studies have shown that biodiesel can reduce tailpipe emissions by up to 60 percent, and can make diesel engines last up to 40 percent longer. Vehicles that run on biodiesel fuel create less pollution that can harm people’s health, particularly the health of children. There are also fewer greenhouse gases that can cause global warming.
Another positive to the fuel is since it’s made from soybeans, it gives a big boost to the nation’s farmers, while lessening the dependence on foreign oil.
"This is a dream come true for the people in this world who need, and want good, clean fuel," said Tacker.
Tacker said without the help of Dr. Lester Spell, Agriculture Commissioner for the state, Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran in Washington, Biodiesel of Mississippi would never have been a reality.
"We owe our existence and gratitude to these three men," said Tacker.
Biodiesel of Mississippi is currently looking for independent service stations to handle the fuel.