G&G burns biodiesel while building the plant

By | November 10, 2006
A unique situation is taking place in Claypool, Ind., the soon-to-be home of the nation's largest soybean processing facility. Louis Dreyfus Commodities contracted G&G Hauling and Excavating Inc. to build its 80 MMgy biodiesel production facility. In the process, the construction company has become an example of just how powerful "burning the bean" can be.

All of G&G's equipment-which consists mostly of Caterpillar units-runs on biodiesel-blended fuel The construction company goes through about 1,000 to 1,200 gallons of B2 per day while building the Louis Dreyfus plant, which is slated to open in September 2007.

"A requirement to use biodiesel was not part of the dirt work contract," said John Meyer, site coordinator of the Louis Dreyfus Agricultural Industries LLC project. "The fact that G&G's fuel supplier for the project offered B2 was a plus."

For the past two years, G&G has powered its fleet with biodiesel supplied by North Central Co-op Energy (NCC), currently the largest soy biodiesel supplier in the area. NCC stops daily at the construction site to make sure that G&G's equipment is running smoothly. So far, there hasn't been a noticeable loss in fuel economy or power, according to G&G President Cary Groninger.

"We realized that it would be a win-win situation for us, the local economy and for the environment," Groninger said. "The biodiesel blends run cleaner for the environment, we continue to support our local economy, and it is less expensive than what we were purchasing before."

NCC first approached the project partners with the idea of using soy biodiesel during construction, according to Belinda Puetz, director of marketing for the Indiana Soybean Board (ISB). As a member of the local community, NCC made it clear that it wasn't seeking to profit but believed that utilizing the renewable energy source was the "right thing to do," Puetz recalled.

"They came up to us shortly after the groundbreaking and said, 'We know Louis Dreyfus will be producing biodiesel in the future, but we've got biodiesel here today,'" she said.

The local response to the Louis Dreyfus project has been positive according to Puetz and Meyer. In business dealings, as well as personal comments from residents, "everyone seems glad we're here," Meyer said.

To avoid an unfavorable reaction from the Claypool community, Puetz said that Louis Dreyfus, ISB, the local government and all other parties involved formed a partnership early on, and kept Kosciusko County residents and business-owners in the loop.

"We've held farmer meetings to talk about safety issues, what ingredients are used and how biodiesel is produced," Puetz said. "We talked about what it means for agriculture and energy security in Indiana."
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