Sen. Al Franken visits REG Albert Lea biodiesel plant celebration

By Renewable Energy Group Inc. | August 27, 2013

Renewable Energy Group Inc. celebrated completion of upgrades to its 30 MMgy biodiesel refinery in southern Minnesota with a ribbon cutting and visit by U.S. Sen. Al Franken, along with state and local leaders.

REG began the $21 million project last October to upgrade the Albert Lea biorefinery, which enables the plant to utilize multiple raw materials such as waste animal fats and greases and inedible corn oil, in addition to the refined vegetable oils the facility was originally built to process. The project was completed in June.

“We completed the upgrades at REG Albert Lea on time and on budget,” said Daniel J. Oh, president and CEO of REG. “That is a testament to the hard work of our team and contractors.”

Within days of start-up, all biodiesel produced at Albert Lea met the company’s REG-9000 quality specifications, which exceed the industry’s ASTM B100 standard. Multifeedstock biodiesel has been available at Albert Lea since June 19. The upgrade project supported between 70 and 80 construction jobs.

REG initially constructed the facility for SoyMor in 2005 before acquiring it in 2011. With the recent acquisition of the former SoyEnergy LLC plant in nearby Mason City, Iowa, REG now has eight active biorefineries in five states with a combined annual production capacity of more than 255 million gallons.

“With these upgrades, REG Albert Lea stands ready to supply more high-quality biodiesel in Minnesota as the state prepares to increase its blending from B5 to B10,” Oh said. “Minnesota is one of a growing number of states that recognize how biodiesel helps make us more energy secure and environmentally sustainable.”

Sen. Franken, who serves as Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Energy Subcommittee, says the Albert Lea plant is one shining example of how biodiesel is a true success story of the renewable fuel standard.

“As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, I know Minnesota has always been a leader in renewable energies like biodiesel because they are so important to our state's economic and energy future,” said Franken. “This expansion of REG's biorefinery has not only created jobs, but also will contribute to reducing our reliance on foreign oil and keeping our environment clean. I congratulate REG on its upgrade and for its efforts to keep our state on the forefront of this important industry.”

Also on hand for the celebration were Minnesota Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Poster, State Sen. Dan Sparks, State Rep. Shannon Savick and a host of local and area civic leaders and project contractors.

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