With construction completed in 2012, KiOR commenced operations at Columbus and validated its proprietary technology. Shipments of cellulosic fuels from Columbus began in early 2013. The facility is producing environmentally friendly gasoline and diesel blendstocks from Southern Yellow Pine woody biomass.
The company chose the Columbus location due to the site’s proximity to abundant, locally grown woody biomass and access to shipping infrastructure. The facility is designed as an initial scale commercial facility, processing 500 bone dry tons of sustainably harvested woody biomass per day. It can produce over 13 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil blendstocks annually, enough to fuel 25,000 cars.
Before construction was completed, KiOR signed offtake agreements with Hunt Refining, Catchlight Energy (a joint venture between Chevron Corporation and Weyerhaeuser Company), and FedEx Corporate Services. KiOR and Catchlight Energy also have a feedstock supply agreement for the facility. The engineering, procurement and construction firm in Columbus was KBR.
The $213 million facility has a workforce of 100 full-time and contract employees, utilized a construction crew of 500 and is creating hundreds of indirect and support jobs around the region.
The company will next look to constructing its "flagship" facility in Natchez, Mississippi. KiOR is designing its standard commercial production plants to process approximately 1,500 bone dry tons of feedstock per day – three times the size of its Columbus facility – to take advantage of economies of scale. By expanding its standard commercial facilities in discrete, independent projects that are each viable on their own, KiOR believes it will have flexibility to coordinate its growth in response to capital availability and market conditions.