Loan for Elevance’s Ill-Fated Biorefinery Project Returned to State

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In Mississippi, funds once earmarked for Elevance Renewable Sciences’ now-defunct Natchez biorefinery project have been returned to the state, and county officials say Elevance is on the hook for the portion of the loan it did spend.

Adams County returned approximately $1.4 million of the $2.15-million Mississippi Development Authority loan to the state of Mississippi. Natchez, Inc., a public-private economic development partnership for the region, will seek a $728,000 repayment from Elevance, covering the portion of the loan spent on improving the site’s railroad infrastructure. Legal action against Elevance is possible if the company does not repay, Natzchez, Inc. executive director Chandler Russ tells The Natchez Demoncrat, although he does not expect the company will default.

Elevance bought the Natchez biorefinery from Delta Biofuels in 2011 with the intention of investing $225 million to retrofit it to use Elevance’s technology. Elevance eventually walked away from the project due to scale-up issues at its Indonesia project and falling petroleum prices, which made its biobased products uneconomical. Elevance sold the site to World Energy in 2016.