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IST, Producers teaming on 'green' project

GREENVILLE — Ed Johnson, CEO of the Delta Economic Development Center, announced that International Silica Technologies, LLC, (IST) has signed a letter of intent to co-site its initial StratoSil high-purity silica production facility with Producers Rice Mill (Producers) in Greenville. In addition to the new IST plant at the Producers rice mill, an associated off-site facility will serve as the company headquarters and distribution center. The cost of the project was not disclosed.

Pending successful financing, IST projects to break ground on the facility in early 2010, with production commencing in early 2011.

IST was founded in 2003, based on novel technology that extracts high-quality amorphous silica as well as renewable thermal energy from rice hulls, a byproduct of the milling process. Potential markets for the new silica product, brand-named StratoSil, include toothpaste, adsorbents, coatings and inks, cosmetics and rubber.

Pre-treated rice hulls are combusted during the process to produce an excess of renewable energy, which can be used for co-sited industrial processing or converted to electricity for delivery to local power grids. Producers will use the energy generated from the IST facility to displace natural gas in its rice processing operations.

IST co-founder and technology developer Larry Shipley said, “The patented IST process is the ultimate green technology, producing high-quality silica and renewable energy from lower-value rice hulls and straw.”

IST president and COO Randall Powell added, “We are pleased to partner with Producers Rice Mill to bring the initial IST commercial facility to Greenville.At full production rates, we expect to create 60 direct jobs at our plant, and an equal number of indirect jobs in the community.”

Producers is a 2,500-member cooperative that was established in 1943 and expanded its operations to Greenville in 2001. Based in Stuttgart, Ark., Producers is a full-line processor of quality rice products, serving all major divisions of the rice industry and is one of the largest private label packagers in the country, supplying over 100 brands for major food chains and distributors.

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