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Indiana's first biodiesel plant to start production in 2006
Assistant Editor

MORRISTOWN, Ind. — The small east central Indiana town of Morristown is the site of the state’s first soy biodiesel production facility, which is slated to begin production by early 2006.

Proximity to Bunge North America’s Morristown facility, one of eight soybean processing plants in the state, was a key factor to selecting the site, according to Integrity Biofuels, LLC officials.

“As we looked at potential production facility sites throughout the Midwest, we found a match in Morristown,” said Integrity Biofuels CEO Charles Whittington. “In this site, we had access to an adequate supply of high-quality refined soybean oil, which is a key ingredient to soy biodiesel production. We also found in Morristown a Chamber of Commerce and a town board that welcomed our renewable fuel company with community support, an infrastructure critical for long-term business success and valued tax incentives.” Integrity Biofuels has purchased an existing building/warehouse and expects to be in the business of selling soy biodiesel by early 2006, said Whittington, a Hoosier native.

Indiana’s first biodiesel production facility will employee five to seven workers and produce 10 million gallons of soy biodiesel annually, though company officials are already making plans to grow annual production beyond the company’s initial business year. In its first year of production, Integrity Biofuels will utilize 6.7 million bushels of Hoosier soybeans.

According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel is produced from renewable resources, like soybeans, and contains no petroleum, but it can be blended with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with no major modifications.

Support critical

Integrity Biofuels Vice President John Whittington said that state support played a significant role in the site selection.

“We give a lot of credit to Indiana legislators for their vision to attract business to the state,” stated John Whittington.

Earlier this year, Governor Mitch Daniels signed legislation allowing up to $20 million in tax incentives for biodiesel, blended biodiesel and ethanol production.

“The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are helping Hoosier companies, like ours, be part of an exciting and historical worldwide renewable fuels movement that will significantly diversify the energy portfolio of this country,” added Whittington.

Lt. Governor Becky Skillman issued a statement on Aug. 24 applauding the announcement of the state’s first soy biodiesel production facility.

“It is long overdue that Indiana becomes a major player in the biofuels industry,” she said. “This announcement solidifies the state’s commitment to turn Indiana into the global leader in the development and production of biofuels. We have abundant corn and soybeans and the infrastructure to reach this goal.”

Demand for biodiesel growing

This announcement comes at a time when the demand for biofuels - including biodiesel - is growing, according the Indiana Soybean Board. Americans demanded 25 million gallons of biodiesel in 2004. Estimates are that in 2005 American diesel owners will purchase a record 125 million gallons of biodiesel.

Within the state borders, Hoosiers purchased nearly 400,000 gallons of biodiesel last year. In 2005, the Indiana Soybean Board estimates that Hoosier diesel owners will demand close to 4 million gallons of pure biodiesel.

“Biofuels are better for the environment, increase farmers’ incomes and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Lt. Governor Skillman. “Beyond that, we are all aware of the high cost of traditional fuels. The transition to biodiesel will give consumers another, oftentimes cheaper, option.”

Published in the August 31, 2005 issue of Farm World.