Blackhawk Buys Mothballed Illinois Biodiesel Plant

John Davis

An Illinois biodiesel company has bought a biodiesel refinery that had been mothballed. Blackhawk Biofuels, LLC, with $19.8 million in financial backing from the state of Illinois, has bought the 45-million-gallon-a-year biodiesel plant at Danville, Illinois.

This press release from Blackhawk’s web site says the company will upgrade the facility to accept a wider range of feedstocks in hopes of making it economically viable:

The improvements to the biodiesel plant, managed by Renewable Energy Group (REG), will enable it to produce biodiesel from animal fats as well as soybean oil, making it one of only a handful of plants nationwide with this capability. This ability will help ensure the plant’s profitability, create 15 new jobs and secure more than a hundred jobs at the Danville facility and the adjacent soy crushing plant, as well as approximately 75 construction jobs.

Blackhawk Biofuels will partner with Renewable Energy Group to operate the facility. REG, a leading biodiesel producer and marketer, will operate the Danville facility and market the plant’s biodiesel. Biodiesel production is expected to begin as early as this fall.

“We expect this plant will become a premier facility within the REG network,” said Renewable Energy Group Chief Operating Officer Daniel Oh. The plant has a secure raw material source, a skilled and motivated workforce, and an efficient distribution network. The planned upgrades will further enhance its market advantages.

The $19.8 million comes from the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA). Another $4.8 million in Opportunity Returns grants to construct the new plant have been made available through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Transportation.