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West Palm Beach cleantech firm to build two $300M plants

  • January 27th, 2015

From South Florida Business Journal, January 27, 2015

West Palm Beach-based BioNitrogen is building two $300 million plants to convert South Florida’s tree trimmings into urea fertilizer.
The plants will break ground in the second half of the year, one in Taylor County and one in Hendry County. The state issued $300 million each in tax-exempt bonds to BioNitrogen (Pinksheets: BION) for the plants.

“We’re the Tesla of fertilizer,” BioNitrogen board member Bryan Kornegay said. “You can compare us to the large fertilizer companies like CF Industries or Mosaic or Agrium, and we’re building small plants close to where our feedstock is produced and where farmers use the urea.”

South Florida is a “wood basket,” Kornegay said, producing enough tree trimmings and other wood waste for each BioNitrogen plant to produce 180,000 tons of urea fertilizer annually.

“It’s pretty amazing how much tree trimmings are produced in this area,” he said. “And all of this used to be burned or buried.”

The company has six employees, five of whom work in Palm Beach County. While most of the jobs the plants create will be in rural Taylor and Hendry counties, Kornegay said he expects South Florida to see indirect benefits.

“There are fertilizer companies in South Florida that currently blend different products that they have to import,” he said. “You can expect a lot of the current fertilizer [companies] to buy from us and to blend and to create additional local jobs.” Truck drivers will also be needed to bring biomass to the two plants, Kornegay said.

BioNitrogen, which has a market cap of $17.4 million, plans to expand across the U.S. and Canada. The company is scoping out sites in Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

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