Elevance mulls Iowa biorefinery

Thanks to the Green Underworld Reporter for sending this information about Elevance Renewable Sciences in a proposed joint venture with biodiesel producer Renewable Energy Group (REG) to build a 2.6m gallon/year demo-scale integrated biorefinery in Newton, Iowa.

In an application filed by Elevance late last month to the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development (IDED) for funding assistance, the company said the proposed biorefinery will convert renewable raw materials primarily sourced from Iowa such as soybean oil, ethanol DDG corn oil, animal fats, algae oil and other emerging oils, into olefins, fuels and specialty chemicals.

About 15-16 million pounds/year of vegetable oil feedstock could be used to operate the proposed facility at 90% capacity. According to Elevance, success of the demo plant will enable the company to retrofit existing biodiesel facilities in Iowa with a fully diversified biorefinery.

REG is expected to provide their existing biodiesel production plant in Newton for the biorefinery location as well as provide their experiences in raw material sourcing/transportation/handling, and in constructing novel, continuous flow operating systems.

REG’s experience in fuel and glycerin marketing and logistics will also come in handy, the company said.

Elevance is seeking $800,000 in financial assistance from the IDED and another $2.67 million from the Iowa Power Fund to contribute to the $8.7m estimated cost of the project through 2011. The rest will be funded by the company.

According to the filing, the project is estimated to create around 40-60 full time jobs in 2010 for engineering construction, site preparation and installation. The project will create 7 permanent jobs when the biorefinery starts around 4th quarter of 2010. Full operating capacity is expected in 2012.

Elevance said the company is actively considering locations outside Iowa such as Illinois, Washinigton, Texas and Louisiana, if the project will not proceed in Iowa.

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