Patriot Renewable Fuels‘ General Manager Rick Vondra came home seven years ago when he began working with the biorefinery. He grew up about 80 miles north of Annawan, Illinois on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. Since high school he has been working in the agriculture industry and has traveled around the world in his various roles with ag companies.
But now because of the ethanol boon, he is home.
Vondra is one of the key Patriot team members who recognized the need for the ethanol plant to become more diversified. When they first began operations five years ago, they produced ethanol and dried distillers grains (DDGs). Then they added corn oil production. And now they are constructing a biodiesel facility using JatroDiesel’s flexible feedstock technology that will also produce high quality glycerin as well. In just over five years, Patriot has gone from an ethanol plant to a true renewable biorefinery.
He noted that with each additional product, Patriot is adding more value to the kernel of corn, more value to their local communities, more value to their investors, and more value to Americans.
Vondra is really excited about the addition of their biodiesel facility. They currently employ 50 people and will be adding nine more good paying jobs when the facility begins operations this fall. And he believes they have a great market for biodiesel not only because the biorefinery is located on highway I-80 but also because Illinois has a very good program to promote biodiesel. He is confident this addition will create additional benefits for the community.
“I don’t see how you develop the cellulosic industry if the ethanol market is going to be capped at 13 billion gallons,” said Vondra when asked about the 2014 proposed renewable fuel volumes by the Environmental Protection Agency for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). “This been a lot of talk from the government and even the media that we have to get cellulosic. This year there are going to be three or four decent sized plants coming online. So just as we’re getting to the point where we’re starting to make some real progress with industrial sized plants, they are proposing cutting back ethanol into the marketplace.”
“It’s very baffling to me.”
Listen to my interview with Rick Vondra here: Ethanol Brings People Home
Check out the Patriot Renewable Fuels photo album.