Biorefinery eyes completion of $28M expansion
By DOUGLAS BURNS
RALSTON — Renewable Energy Group, North America’s largest biodiesel producer and a publicly traded company, expects to have a $28 million Ralston expansion operational by December, according to company officials.
“Basically, what we are doing is doubling the size,” Myron Danzer, general manager of REG in Ralston, told the Carroll Area Development Corp. during a recent lunch meeting.
REG held a groundbreaking ceremony in November to launch the expansion of its Ralston biorefinery from 12 million to 30 million gallons.
The project also involves more storage and administrative facilities. REG expects to hire eight more people in Ralston associated with the expansion at the now 20-person plant, Danzer said.
The Ralston biodiesel plant is co-located with the Landus soy operation in Ralston. REG is a separate company and traded on NASDAQ (REGI).
Former Gov. Terry Branstad and Gov. Kim Reynolds, while serving as Branstad’s lieutenant, were the featured guests at the groundbreaking attended by business leaders and elected officials.
“REG Ralston has been an efficient biorefinery with an ample supply of lower cost, lower carbon intensity feedstock next door connected by a pipe, and the original nameplate capacity was tied to the output of soybean oil from the adjacent crush,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG president. “This expansion matches the greater output volume from the newly expanded soy crush at Landus Cooperative.”
“The decision by Landus Cooperative to expand their soy crush facility presented REG with an excellent, efficient opportunity,” said Brad Albin, vice president, manufacturing. “With a greater, adjacent feedstock supply and our history of continuous improvements, this capacity expansion is a logical investment.”
Branstad recalled the history behind the Ralston facility.
“I was here in the 1990s when biodiesel was just a dream,” he said. “I am honored to participate in the expansion of Iowa’s first continuous-flow biodiesel plant. REG has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to investing in Iowa and building a future for this state in homegrown, advanced biofuel.”
The Ralston expansion will increase REG’s cumulative nameplate capacity from its 11 active biomass-based diesel plants across the United States to 470 million gallons annually.