Imperium Renewables starts construction in Washington

By | September 01, 2006
Expected to build one of the largest biodiesel plants in the United States, Imperium Renewables has selected a site for construction of Grays Harbor Biodiesel on land owned by the Port of Grays Harbor between Aberdeen and Hoquiam in western Washington.

At press time, a groundbreaking ceremony was expected to be held in September. It will take about 10 to 12 months of construction before the 100 MMgy facility starts production. "This site fits a model of what we were looking at with good logistics for the transportation of all our feedstock and finished product," said John Plaza, president of Imperium Renewables.

The company's first plant, the 5 MMgy Seattle Biodiesel, brings feedstock in by rail, and biodiesel is moved out by truck. "We have been bringing in feedstock from the Midwest and Canada, but if we can take advantage of any feedstocks in Washington, we certainly will," Plaza said. "We also will be looking at other various feedstocks from around the world, but we certainly are going to have to have use soy oil and canola."

Grays Harbor Biodiesel is located in a community with both work force and resources transitioning away from involvement in the forestry industry-especially the paper and pulp sectors-into green energy endeavors. These days, there are interesting projects happening with renewables in Grays Harbor, Plaza said, involving electricity and the utilization of wood wastes to generate power. It is also a community where the development of new industry is necessary to sustain its vitality. "Our projects, of course, are ways that we can revitalize a community that has lost a lot of jobs, with the paper and pulp industry sort of leaving the United States and going to other countries," he said.

In several projects around the United States, the biodiesel industry has been assimilating the infrastructure that has been either vacated or deserted by the forestry and paper industries. "We are reinvigorating the community with the new green technologies and encouraging others to become such as an ethanol producer," Plaza said. "We feel it is such a perfect spot for this transition. This is a greenfield site in a region that has been traditionally paper/pulp."
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