Western Iowa Energy progresses

By | April 01, 2005
The $40 million, 30 mmgy biodiesel plant proposed in Wall Lake, Iowa, finished its equity drive, raising more than $22 million in 11 days. The group canceled the remaining two-thirds of its equity drive meetings and will now negotiate the remaining $18 million from lenders.
Construction could begin in early April, and the facility could be operational in early 2006. When finished, it will be the largest biodiesel production plant in the United States.

estern Iowa Energy LLC Project Manager Jim Venner credited the success of the equity drive on three things. "First, timing," Venner said. "The federal legislation that passed last year gave us a boost. Second, high oil and gas prices the war in Iraq. We could pick up the newspaper any given day and point to any number of reasons to invest in biodiesel. Above all though, it's simply a good product, and the business plan is sound. We were well prepared and we presented the plan well."

The Wall Lake facility will be built by Renewable Energy Group and create 24 permanent jobs. The facility will be 70 percent farmer-owned with in excess of 600 total investors. Only Iowa residents were allowed to invest in the company. "I think we covered almost the entire state as far as subscriptions," Venner said.

The facility will take in multiple feedstocks: primarily soybean oils but also animal fats. West Central, along with several Iowa soybean-crushing facilities, will supply the soybean oil. Iowa also has a number of rendering facilities that will supply the animal fats.
The soy-based process will produce glycerin that West Central will sell as crude. Biodiesel from animal fats will produce waste fat that can be sold as feed. Most coproducts will be sold locally, depending on the market, Venner told Biodiesel Magazine.

The project started in July 2004 with consulting done by Venner's Ag Visions in conjuction with Sac County Rural Electric Cooperative. Frazier, Barnes & Associates LLC conducted the feasibility study, which revealed positive results for the project. The equity drive started March 7.
For more information about Western Iowa Energy, visit www.westerniowaenergy.com.
 
 
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