Illinois plant completes expansion

By | April 01, 2006
An expansion project at American Biorefining Inc., a soy-based biodiesel plant in Bloomington, Ill., was nearing completion in March. At press time, production was expected to begin by mid-March, according to company President Tim Lee. "Everybody will be happy to see the thing fired up, that's for sure," he said.

The plant has been producing biodiesel since 1994. With the $2 million expansion, capacity will increase from 10 MMgy per year to 30 MMgy when running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fifteen more workers will be hired to work in the biodiesel plant, bringing the total number of employees to 25.

The company is searching for a biodiesel marketer, Lee said. In the past, American Biorefining marketed its own product. However, with the additional capacity, a professional marketer is needed.

The plant is one of few facilities that produces biodiesel using soybean oil and ethanol, rather than methanol. The company believes there are several advantages, including reduced water waste. "We took a brand-new approach to it, a much more environmentally friendly approach," Lee said.

American Biorefining began the expansion project in July 2005. Costs for the privately financed project were driven up due to Hurricane Katrina, Lee said. Although things progressed more slowly than the company would have liked, everyone was pleased the project was coming to an end. "We're looking forward to getting up to speed and getting it going," he said.
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