REG completes major expansion project at Ralston biodiesel plant

By Ron Kotrba | May 10, 2018

Renewable Energy Group Inc. has completed a $32 million expansion and upgrade project at its Ralston, Iowa, biodiesel plant. Production capacity in Ralston—REG’s first biodiesel production facility built in 2002 when REG was a division of West Central Cooperative, and one of the nation’s oldest commercial-scale biodiesel plants—has more than doubled, from 12 to 30 MMgy. Along with the expansion, significant upgrades have been made to its logistics and storage capabilities.

“REG is positioned for long-term growth along with the entire biodiesel industry,” said REG CEO Randy Howard. “We are proud of the project’s completion as it shows our ability to deliver more high-quality products to meet market demand. The investment to further expand production was an easy decision for our company with the growth of our feedstock provider, Landus Cooperative, and the state of Iowa’s support of incentivizing higher biodiesel blends.”

Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, congratulated REG and said, “We are fortunate that REG has its headquarters here in Iowa, and continues to invest heavily in biodiesel infrastructure, benefiting the state’s economy. This $32 million dollar expansion will be a boon to the Ralston community and beyond. Expansion like this is only possible when companies have faith in the demand for a product and in the policies surrounding biodiesel production. I know REG and the entire biodiesel industry are grateful to our fellow Iowans for using our homegrown fuel, and for our leaders who have made Iowa one of the most biodiesel-friendly states in the nation, despite uncertain federal policy.”

Kimberley thanked Howard and the entire REG staff for their investment in biodiesel. “It makes the state of Iowa stronger and greener, and reinforces our position as the national leader in renewable fuel production,” he said.

REG broke ground on the project in November 2016 with an initial $24 million commitment. As the project developed, the company invested another $8 million for additional improvements. First Midwest Bank provided $20 million to partially finance the expansion.

According to REG, the project included 150,000 man hours and on-site peak manpower was up to 160 workers. The project was completed with no recordable injuries.

“The Ralston plant was first built in 2002, as we moved forward with the expansion, we also took the time to improve key safety items including a fire protection system and a storm shelter,” said Derek Winkel, executive director of manufacturing operations for REG. “Our new loadout system enhances our ability to efficiently load and unload products for our transportation suppliers and customers.”

REG Ralston is one of the company’s 13 biomass-based diesel refineries. The company now has a combined production capacity of 565 MMgy.


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