Illinois Biodiesel Plant Expands Feedstock Choices

John Davis

blackhawkbiofuelsAn Illinois biodiesel plant has made some upgrades and can now use a wider variety of feedstocks.

Hoosier Ag Today reports that the improvements made by Renewable Energy Group to the 45-million-gallon-a-year Blackhawk Biofuels plant in Danville, Ill., will be able to turn more fats and oils, such as used cooking grease, into biodiesel:

“These upgrades enhance local production of clean-burning renewable fuel, support 28 green-collar employees and offer petroleum distributors additional choices for high quality biodiesel,” explained Ron Mapes, chairman of the Blackhawk Biofuels, LLC.

“Upgrades began in September to enhance the plant’s vegetable oil-only process technology with new proprietary pretreatment and production technology,” Mapes added. “Plant startup and vegetable oil-only biodiesel production began in November. These recent upgrades offer cutting-edge technology for producing high quality biodiesel from a variety of oils and high free fatty acid feedstock.”

The $12 million project included the multiple feedstock pretreatment and production upgrades, enhanced laboratory and testing facilities, and improvements for storage and logistics capabilities. The construction project employed 68 full-time workers.

Officials are proud to say that the upgrade and startup were on schedule, cranking out the green fuel made from a high free fatty acid feedstock within just a few days of installation… exceeding all ASTM quality specifications. The addition of the new feedstocks will help keep the facility in the black.