When U.S.-based Renewable Energy Group Inc. (REG) built the 12-million-gallon continuous flow biorefinery in Ralston, Iowa, in 2001, REG was a division of the former West Central Cooperative (now Landus Cooperative). The plant was then the largest biodiesel refinery in America. Over time, as Renewable Energy Group grew into an independent company and became North America’s largest biomass-based diesel producer, the Ralston facility became the company’s smallest nameplate capacity. However, that is about to change.
Renewable Energy Group, which earlier announced plans for its first biorefinery capacity expansion to 30 million gallons, held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 8, with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds as special guests of honor.
In addition to the capacity expansion, the project will include logistics improvements and other site enhancements. Total investment in the capacity expansion is USD24 million, of which up to USD20 million in long-term debt financing is expected to be provided.
Renewable Energy Group, Inc. is a leading provider of cleaner, lower carbon intensity products and services, utilizing a nationwide production, distribution and logistics system as part of an integrated value chain model to focus on converting natural fats, oils and greases into advanced biofuels and converting diverse feedstocks into renewable chemicals, with 12 active biorefineries across the United States.
“Ralston is where it all began for REG and the experience and lessons we have learned, and are still learning, have helped our company grow into what it is today,” said Daniel J. Oh, president and CEO.
The REG Ralston expansion announcement comes on the heels of Landus Cooperative expanding their adjacent soy crush operation.
“On behalf of our farmer-owners, we look forward to finalizing plans with REG for their expansion as another way to add value to our soybeans via oil utilization at the Ralston biorefinery,” said John Scott, an Odebolt, Iowa farmer and president of the Landus Cooperative Board of Directors.
“With a greater, adjacent feedstock supply and continuous improvements at REG Ralston, this capacity expansion is a logical investment,” said Brad Albin, REG vice president, Manufacturing.
Once completed, the Ralston expansion would increase REG’s cumulative nameplate capacity from its 11 active biomass-based diesel plants across the country to 470 million gallons annually.