Industrial biodiesel plant construction

Per year Biodiesel plant

More than five years after the biodiesel plant in West Beatrice was completed, the plant is yet to produce an ounce of renewable fuel from its location in the Industrial Park.

The plant has been vacant since construction was completed in 2007, but new owners have spent two years evaluating, renovating and rejuvenating the jaded plant and expect to finally see production of biodiesel by next year.

Originally constructed at a cost of $50 million, the plant was sent to auction in late 2011 and was purchased for $5 million.

The plant is owned by Duonix Beatrice, a joint venture between Flint Hills Resources, which is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc., and Benefuel, Inc.

Officials from the company attended Monday night’s Beatrice City Council meeting, where they presented a progress update for the plant.

The company hopes to begin operation in 2015 with a full-time staff of 44 workers producing 50 million gallons of biodiesel a year.

Michael Harris, Flint Hills Resources venture manager, said the company has been fixing and replacing equipment that was already out of date and is retrofitting the plant to be feedstock flexible and utilize ENSEL technology.

According to the company’s website, the ENSEL process streamlines production, eliminates waste and by-products and expands product capabilities to produce a biodiesel with enhanced cold weather properties and a high-grade glycerin that can sell for more than the biodiesel itself.

It also allows the use of cheaper feedstocks high in free-fatty acids, such as distillers corn oil from ethanol refining, waste-vegetable oils, animal fats and unrefined oils.

Mayor Dennis Schuster said a common question in the community has been safety issues posed by the plant.

Harris said risks at the plant will be minimal, thanks in part to biodiesel's chemical properties.

“Our company is devoted to safe and environmentally responsible operations, ” he said. “We take great pride at understanding what it takes to be a safe and responsible operator.

“We don’t foresee any danger beyond what a normal operating plant might present. Biodiesel is a combustible material, it’s not flammable like a jet fuel or gasoline so it’s actually less hazardous to deal with.”

With new technology being implemented, councilman Ted Fairbanks inquired just how different the biodiesel-production process will be from how it was originally envisioned.

“When the plant was first built, we tried to educate the community and neighborhood, ” he said. “I think we did a pretty fair job and everybody’s concerns were pretty much at ease about that. How much different is the production process than what that was?”

Harris said some of the previously-installed equipment was removed or demolished due to being “not fit for service, ” but the general process will remain the same.

He added the plant isn’t expected to produce noticeable smells for area residents.

The plant was originally constructed at a cost of $50 million by Beatrice Biodiesel, which filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September, 2008.

According to Daily Sun archives, Beatrice Biodiesel announced the plant would be built in the Gage County Industrial park in March, 2006. Construction began that August and the plant was completed in 2007.


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Q&A

avatar
What kind of Zoning would it be for a biodiesel refinning plant??? Commercail or industrial??

I'm looking at buying some land for an biodiesel plant, and i need to know what kind of Zoning it would have to be the State of Texas to operate an biodiesel plant...Commercial or industrial????

Zoning laws are usually controlled by local governments rather than state governments so you should probably look to the specific community or county where you are interested in locating.
Refineries would most likely fall under the category of Industrial. Commercial typically refers to wholesale businesses, distribution centers, warehouses, offices and light industrial. Industrial areas would be factories, refineries and the like where products are made in large quantities.