Adkins Energy Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Cindy Zimmerman

Adkins Energy celebrated its 20th anniversary this month with an open house over the weekend at the biorefinery in Lena, Illinois. Adkins was founded in August 2002 with an annual production capacity of 40 million gallons, which has now expanded to 60 million gallons

Representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association attended the celebration on Saturday. “We are thrilled to join Adkins Energy in celebrating this important milestone in the company’s history,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Adkins joined the RFA board in 2003, and the company has been a leader within our association and across the industry for the past two decades. Adkins is an important fixture in the northwest Illinois economy.”

Adkins was one of the first 20 plants nationwide to be certified in 2012 by EPA to produce E15. In 2013, the company broke ground on a co-located biodiesel facility and began production in 2014, and in 2015, a 14,000-square-foot maintenance facility was added to the campus.

During the COVID pandemic in 2020, Adkins partnered with Lena Brewing Company to produce ethanol-based, FDA-approved hand sanitizer and worked as part of a state-level initiative to help supply sanitizer to Chicago. Along the way, Adkins Energy has awarded 20 scholarships to college students and donated $340,000 to local schools and organizations.

“It’s a really exciting time to be in the renewable fuels industry,” said Adkins Energy General Manager Bill Howell, an RFA board member. “The energy sector, particularly renewable fuels, is at the front of a new birth. We’re talking about new aviation, zero-carbon-intensity type fuels, and my hope is that we’re a player in those. Growth is always a challenge no matter what, and even though it’s positive, it’s always difficult—along with the changes that come with it. Overall, I am eager to see the opportunities and changes the next 20 years bring to our plant!”

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