Refinery seeks a solution for a stinky situationThe sulfur market has bottomed out, and that has put Flint Hills Resources in a stinky position. The company, which makes petroleum, also sells sulfur, a byproduct of the process.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
The sulfur market has bottomed out, and that has put Flint Hills Resources in a stinky position. The company, which makes petroleum, also sells sulfur, a byproduct of the process. With few sales the company has more on its hands than it can get rid of and needs somewhere to store it.
So on Tuesday the company asked the Rosemount Planning Commission to change an ordinance so that it could possible store the substance outside.
The planning commission recommended the council make a text amendment that would allow outdoor bulk material storage as an interim use permit in the heavy industrial zoning district.
Flint Hills runs a petroleum refinery on the east side of Rosemount. Through the refining process two byproducts, coke and sulfur, are produced. Coke is a type of coal.
The sulfur currently is stored as a liquid in tanks on the site and gets shipped to market in rail cars. However, the market has been slow. According to a staff memo Flint Hills produces about 1,000 tons of sulfur a day.
Lowell Miller Stolte, a representative from Flint Hills, said sulfur gets used in a number of products including car parts and construction materials. The sulfur market has bottomed out, so Flint Hill is looking for alternative markets or at putting the excess sulfur into landfills.
Some of those markets and landfilling requires the sulfur be in solid form. So Flint Hills wants to solidify the sulfur.
To put into solid form the company will take sulfur out of storage tanks that currently hold the substance and deposit it into an asphalt-lined basin. In the basin the sulfur will solidify and then it will be transported off site.
For the complete story see the May 29, 2009, print edition of the Rosemount Town Pages.