Ill. ethanol plant to co-locate biodiesel production on-site

By Adkins Energy LLC | November 11, 2013

Adkins Energy LLC has been awarded a $500,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant to begin construction on a $4.5 million biodiesel plant on the east side of its Lena, Ill., campus. The 2 MMgy facility is expected to begin production in spring 2014.

“We are excited to add biodiesel to our product offerings and thankful that the USDA sees the value in this project,” said Adkins Energy General Manager Ray Baker. “This project is another example of how the renewable fuel standard (RFS) is working for Americans; it is encouraging continued investment in advanced biorefineries and creating new jobs which are helping to revitalize rural communities like ours.”

Adkins Ethanol currently produces about 1.5 million gallons of distillers corn oil a year, which is sold either into the biodiesel production market or as a supplement to the animal feed market. Adkins will use this feedstock to produce the biodiesel in its facility, a process that will be fully integrated into existing ethanol operations, creating significant operating efficiencies in the production of biodiesel. WB Services of Kansas is partnering with Adkins to create this first-of-its-kind integrative project.

The new plant will be small compared to the rest of Adkins’ structures—about 8,500 square feet—but designed to add more equipment to double its production capabilities if opportunity allows. Baker estimates the new plant will create a number of immediate new job opportunities as well as temporary construction jobs.

“We are committed to renewable energy and to northwest Illinois,” Baker said. “Biodiesel fuel, like ethanol, offers drivers a renewable, home-grown source of fuel that’s good for the environment, good for their budget and good for our nation, and it provides a direct benefit for our members and the community.”

At the same time Adkins announces its expansion based on the merits of the RFS, the U.S. EPA is considering lowering the amount of renewable fuel that will be required in 2014. “The EPA’s proposal to lower corn ethanol requirements and keep biodiesel mandates the same when the markets are responding to the RFS’s call for growth in both fuels is mindboggling.” Baker stated. “Our investment like many others in the industry is being made in response to the RFS, a policy that promises market access for ethanol and other advanced biofuels like biodiesel. If Congress or the EPA changes course now, what does that mean for the future of renewable energy jobs and agriculture? So, as we break ground on this facility, we are trusting that Congress and President Obama will stay the course and won’t mess with the RFS.”

Adkins Energy LLC is owned by approximately 275 general members of the former Adkins Energy Cooperative and its partner Pearl City Elevator. Adkins Energy shares are available to the public, and any area producer can sell grain to Adkins Energy through PCE.

Pearl City Elevator, established in 1918, is a local, farmer-owned cooperative that supplies grain, seed, fertilizer and other farming goods to local farmers at seven servicing locations across northwest Illinois. It recently expanded its facilities in Lena, Ill. with a state-of-the-art liquid and dry fertilizer storage facility. Adkins Energy is a corn-to-ethanol dry mill facility located in northwest Illinois. Since it started production in 2002, Adkins has processed more than 165 million bushels of corn to produce more than 460 million gallons of ethanol and 2,300,000 tons of wet and dried distillers grains.

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