Former Baard CEO heading to Ashtabula plant

LISBON – The man behind an energy plant previously planned for Columbiana County instead will lead plans to build a smaller version of a similar plant in Ashtabula County.

John Baardson, former CEO of Baard Energy, is now CEO of Pinto Energy LLC, the Houston-based startup company that last week announced plans to build a $200 million Ashtabula refinery to convert natural gas to diesel fuel and other liquid products.

Baard Energy in 2006 announced plans to build a $6 billion plant on 400 acres outside Wellsville that would convert coal to diesel fuel.

When the project ran into problems attracting investors, Planck Investments acquired controlling interest in 2011 and announced the project would proceed but with natural gas replacing coal as the feedstock.

This plant was to produce 53,000 gallons per day of diesel fuel.

Pinto Energy is proposing to build a much smaller modular refinery that would produce up to 2,800 gallons of fuel and specialty products, such as solvents, lubricants and waxes, from natural gas. The plant, which can be expanded, is expected to generate 30 permanent jobs and 400 construction jobs.