WI’s First Commercial Biodiesel Plant Idled

John Davis

sanimaxBiodiesel is still having a tough go of it… just like many other businesses in today’s economy. The latest victim of the economic downturn is Sanimax Energy, which has had to temporarily close its DeForest, Wisconsin plant… the first biodiesel plant to open in the Badger State two years ago.

This story in the Wisconsin Ag Connection says the refinery, which turned used restaurant grease into the green fuel, has had to layoff 20 of its 30 workers who work in the biodiesel wing of the facility:

A spokesperson for the Canadian-based Sanimax, which has 24 locations across the continent and three other facilities in Wisconsin, says the closing is attributed to the economy. The firm did not release a possible re-opening date.

Sanimax began construction of its 15,000 square-foot plant in early 2006. In May 2007, the company sold its first large-scale load of fuel to Progressive Farmers Cooperative in Northeast Wisconsin. Sanimax was using a patented multi-feedstock technology developed by Nova Biosource Fuels to transform recycled cooking grease, rendered animal fats and vegetable oils into high-quality, clean burning biodiesel fuel.

The good news is, though, Sanimax’s partnership with BEST Energies in Cashton, Wi. will still produce biodiesel from the corn oil leftover from making corn into ethanol.