CHARLESTON, S.C. (Oct. 31)—Environmental Processing Systems Inc. closed its Santee River Rubber Co. L.L.C. crumb rubber plant near Charleston before it even officially opened for business. EPS now seeks to obtain an undisclosed amount of further funding to reopen the plant while its former equity partner, Ridgewood Power L.L.C., wants to take over the project itself. Production test runs in July and August proved the 90,000-sq.-ft. Santee River facility could make fine-mesh, high-quality crumb rubber consistently, said EPS CEO James Randall, but the ramp-up costs were greater than anticipated. Now EPS has placed the plant in Chapter 11 proceedings in South Carolina federal bankruptcy court while it seeks new investors. "Ridgewood Power is charging all sorts of things, which is why we´ve had to reorganize under the bankruptcy proceedings," Randall said. Martin Quinn, CEO of Ridgewood Power, said he is convinced of the viability of the crumb rubber operations at Santee River, but accused Randall and EPS of "completely mismanag(ing) the construction and operations of the plant." The site, which has an annual capacity of 150 million pounds, manufactured "several million pounds" of fine-mesh crumb during the test run, which EPS has sold, according to Randall.
Santee River crumb plant closes, seeks more funding
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