Equipment from the failed KiOR biofuel plant in Columbus is being sold, but Mississippi taxpayers are likely to recover little of the $79 million that the state is seeking.
Iowa-based REG Synthetic Fuels is paying a receiver $1.5 million for some refining equipment at the KiOR plant, which was supposed to turn wood chips into a crude oil substitute. Kior started up the plant a few years ago but never achieved full capacity because of problems that plagued its production process.
Georgia Renewable Fuels said Monday it’s buying wood processing equipment from KiOR. No price has been disclosed, but it’s unlikely to make a big dent in the debt created when Mississippi loaned KiOR money.
Texas-based KiOR filed for bankruptcy early this year, but its Columbus subsidiary wasn’t included in the filing. Instead, a state court appointed lawyer Derek Henderson as a receiver. After trying to sell the entire plant, which cost $230 million to build, Henderson won approval from a chancery judge this summer to sell the equipment piecemeal.
Henderson’s sales will first reimburse the money that the state has spent maintaining the plant since it went into receivership. Mississippi Development Authority spokesman Jeff Rent couldn’t immediately say Monday how much that amount was, and Henderson didn’t respond to requests for comment.