Remember when you were growing up the story your mom or dad read to you called, “The Little Engine that Could“? It was a motivational story about a little train engine that overcame doubt and adversity to save the day. Patriot Renewable Fuels based in Annawan, Illinois is the little biofuels plant that could in part by mading a recent announcement to build a $10 million dollar, 4-5 million gallon biodiesel plant amidst the uncertainty of the biofuels industry.
On November 15, 2013 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposed rules for the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that not only didn’t keep the status quo, but took a step backward in requiring biofuels in the U.S fuel supply. The RFS mandates that by 2022, 36 billion gallons of biofuels be used in our fuel supply to help reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve the environment through the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions and help improve rural economies throughout the country.
Five years ago Patriot began producing ethanol and today the plant produces 120 million gallons of domestically produced ethanol. During an RFS rally and biodiesel plant ground breaking, President an CEO Gene Griffith gave a brief overview of how Patriot has achieved all the goals of the RFS.
More than 200 local investors came together in the grassroots project to create Patriot and Griffith says its is a shining example of how people can come together to create something positive for a local community and the country.
- Patriot Renewable Fuels was created to develop new markets for corn. Today the plant buys about 40 million bushels of corn per year or approximately 45,000 truckloads a year. This is about the same amount of corn produced in Henry County, Whiteside County or Bureau County in Illinois.
- Patriot Renewable Fuels was created as part of the city’s economic development goals. The biorefinery created 50 permanent jobs and when taking into account payroll and benefits for their employees over 5 years they have paid nearly $18 million dollars in salary and benefits. This money goes back into the local economy.
- Patriot Renewable Fuels was created to produce both food and fuel. The ethanol plant produces 120 million gallons of ethanol per year, and from a revenue standpoint this is about $272 million dollars in revenue. In addition the plant produces dry distillers grains (DDGs) that is a high quality protein animal feed that can be sold domestically or internationally. Patriot created an export market to China and other areas of Asia who are in need of protein to feed the growing populations. This equates to about $85 million dollars in export revenues per year and over five years they plant has contributed over $400 million dollars to the U.S. balance of trade.
Today, Patriot produces enough corn oil to produce about 4 million gallons of biodiesel per year and with the $10 million biodiesel facility that should be operating within 10 months they will hire another nine employees further adding to economic development and U.S. balance of trade.
“Probably the thing I’m most emotional about is our need to reduce dependence on foreign oil,” said Griffith. “Our grassroots project has added about $1.2 billion dollars to the biofuels industry in a little over five years. That’s money that this country doesn’t have to send to the Middle East to buy foreign oil and its money that saves our balance of trade.”
Griffith says its important to share these positive biofuel stories more now than ever with the continued uncertainty of the industry. He encourages people to sign their White House petition in support of the RFS as well as send personal letters to the EPA and to their state and federal legislators to ensure the future of the industry.
Listen to Gene’s highlights about Patriot Renewable Fuels here: Patriot-The Little Biofuels Plant That Did
And check out Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.