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Kior to double Columbus production capacity

Fuels producer Kior says it will double capacity at its Columbus, Mississippi cellulosic fuels plant through the construction of a second facility incorporating its technology.

The project – Columbus II – is estimated to cost in the region of $225 million (€166.6 million). Construction will begin within 90 days of Kior raising sufficient equity and debt capital to commence the project, and will take approximately 18 months to build and start up.

The company says these latest technology improvements will see the Columbus II project allow each Columbus facility to achieve greater yields, production capacity and feedstock flexibility than the original design basis for the existing Columbus facility, enabling it to more quickly make progress towards its long-term goal of 92 gallon per bone dry tonne of biomass.

'We believe this project will enable us to achieve cash flow profitability in 2015 at a lower capital cost with decreased execution and start-up risk,' says Fred Canon, Kior's president and CEO. 'Through the Columbus II project we plan to achieve significant operational and technological synergies between the two Columbus facilities as we expect to incorporate our most recent technology developments into both the new Columbus II facility and retroactively to the existing Columbus facility, thereby improving facility economics for both Columbus I and Columbus II.'

He continues: 'In parallel with the Columbus II project, we plan to accelerate our efforts to refine the design, based in the newest technology improvements, of our next standard scale commercial production facility, currently planning for ground breaking in the second half of 2014 in Natchez, Mississippi.

Kior has already received commitments, subject to negotiation and execution of final documentation, from Khosla Ventures and Vindod Kholsa for an aggregate commitment of up to $50 million as the cornerstone investor for the Columbus II project and to meet the company's ongoing liquidity needs.