Iowa biodiesel developer announces plans

By | October 13, 2006
A group of Iowa-based companies has formed a new biodiesel project development venture with plans for up to 10 biodiesel plants in and around Iowa. TC Energy is already nearing start-up for its first biodiesel plant, a 5 MMgy facility in downtown Keokuk, Iowa.
Formally announced in August, TC Energy is a joint venture between equipment supplier Technochem International, oil extraction company Insta-Pro International and the developers of the Keokuk plant, Tri-City Energy, according to Tri-City's Al Moander. The new venture offers turnkey biodiesel projects.

Technochem is already building the Keokuk plant, which Moander said is expected to start up in late September. Keokuk is located in southeast Iowa, near the Illinois and Missouri borders.

The Tri-City plant is a revamped former General Mills facility, which offers existing infrastructure. "We saved a tremendous amount of money while breathing new life into downtown Keokuk," Moander said.

The size and location of the facility, which began construction in January, will allow soy oil to enter and biodiesel to leave via truck. Moander said the "valves would be turned" Sept. 15, with final testing thereafter. He expects a ribbon cutting later this fall. He also said the plant will eventually feature glycerin-refining capacity.

The Keokuk facility will eventually be expanded to include a soy crush facility on the city's waterfront and a 30 MMgy biodiesel plant. Moander said the city is the farthest north location on the Mississippi River that can be navigated year-round.

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden toured the Tri-City plant in late August. "Farm-grown fuels are not the ultimate answer to our energy challenges," Biden said after visiting the plant.

Moander said TC Energy is using the Technochem process because it produces high quality glycerin. He added Insta-Pro's pressure-based oil extraction process doesn't use hexane. The company will be building additional biodiesel plants in Keokuk and shipping them to plant sites in modules via truck. "Once they arrive on-site, they can be quickly connected," Moander said.

TC Energy has already announced its second project. Lion Energy is a 15 MMgy plant proposed for Altoona, near the outskirts of Des Moines. The project, which also includes a soy crush facility, is expected to break ground in November, according to Moander.
Moander said eight other biodiesel plants will be announced in the near future. He told Biodiesel Magazine the plants will mainly be located in Iowa and produce 30 MMgy.

Iowa is already home to one of the industry's leading turnkey biodiesel companies. Ralston-based Renewable Energy Group recently announced a $100 million private equity financing package and several strategic partnerships that will allow it to expand production to 640 MMgy by 2009.

More information on TC Energy is available at
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