08 Sep Wisconsin's biodiesel network expands
Valders, Wis. – A $97,500 state grant to ramp up soybean oil production for use in biodiesel fuel brings additional biofuel capacity to northeastern Wisconsin.
The state grant, presented this week to Quality Roasting, Inc. of Valders, will help the company more than double its capacity to produce soybean oil, and complement biodiesel production work being done at area refineries like Renewable Alternatives.
Quality Roasting’s soybean crushing operation has produced soybean oil for biodiesel refineries since 2004, and the company is expected to increase its annual soybean oil production from 800,000 gallons to approximately two million gallons. The grant will account for about eight percent of the $1.25 million cost of the project.
Wisconsin’s current annual biodiesel production is estimated at two million gallons. Most of the state’s biodiesel facilities are located in the southern third of the state, where much of Wisconsin’s annual 69.5 million bushels of soybeans are grown.
However, the value of soybeans produced in the east-central region is expected to increase by five to 10 percent as a result of the Quality Roasting project, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
Scott Rabe, founder of Quality Roasting, anticipates the operation will need 1.5 million bushels of soybeans on an annual basis to produce 1.15 million gallons of soybean oil. According to DATCP, approximately 1.4 million gallons of biodiesel can be produced from this amount of soybean oil.
Around the state
In August, North Prairie Productions, LLC, an alternative fuel producer, announced that it has selected an Evansville site for the construction of a $42 million biodiesel plant that will produce an estimated 45 million gallons of fuel per year. The site was chosen based on its proximity to railway and road infrastructure and accessibility to raw materials. Dane and Rock counties are the top two soybean producers in the state, followed by Dodge, Lafayette, and Grant counties.
At the time, company leaders alluded to a possible deal to co-locate the plant with a soybean crushing facility. A crushing plant would create both the oil for biodiesel and meal for cattle.
Wisconsin’s existing biodiesel production facilities also include Great Lakes Biofuels in Madison, WE BE Bio, Ltd. in Mauston, and WRR Environmental Services in Eau Claire. In addition, Sanimax Energy Services, which will produce 20 million gallons a year, is expected to begin production in De Forest by December of this year, and two more plants have been proposed for the southern Wisconsin cities of Jefferson and Clinton.
The 2005-07 state budget contained $1 million to help develop a bio-based industry, and the grants have been dispersed to a combination of bio products, fuel, and energy projects.
In addition to boosting farm income, biodiesel is touted as an alternative fuel that significantly reduces regulated emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. It also has a positive energy balance – for every unit of energy needed to produce a gallon of biodiesel, 3.24 units of energy are gained, according to DATCP.
• Evansville site chosen for biodiesel plant
• MATC bio-diesel reactor to support training
• Biodiesel plant being built in DeForest to make alternative fuel