September 27, 2013 10:20:06 AM
KiOR announced Wednesday that it is building a second biorefinery in Columbus but the Texas-based alternative fuel company says it's too early to speculate on how many jobs will be at what is being called "Columbus II."
Columbus I, a Biomass Fluid Catalytic Craacking Unit, began converting wood chips to fuel on The Island earlier this year. That plant employees roughly 100 people.
Columbus II will be constructed adjacent to Columbus I.
"There will be synergies to be had as a result of employee sharing between the two," Kate Perez, KiOR's director of corporate communications and public relations, said in a statement to The Dispatch Thursday.
KiOR estimates the new facility will cost about $225 million to build, though a beginning date has not been established. Fred Cannon, the company's president and CEO, said KiOR will break ground within 90 days of raising sufficient equity and debt capital to commence the project.
Perez noted that Columbus I -- a 500-ton per day facility -- required about 500 jobs to construct. With Columbus II being the same size, the same number of temporary construction positions will likely be created.
Construction of Columbus II, once started, will take roughly 18 months, the company said.
Cannon said the second plant will help KiOR make quicker progress toward its long-term goal of 92 gallons per bone dry ton of biomass.
KiOR said it has received commitments from Khosla Ventures and Vinod Khosla for $50 million for the project pending negotiation of a final agreement. Khosla Ventures is an investment company based in California.
Cannon said the company plans to accelerate efforts to refine the design of a bigger, 1,500-ton per day facility, which KiOR plans to begin constructing in Adams County during the second half of 2014, according to Perez.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.