08 Apr Biofuels: Doyle gives $4 million to soybean crushing facility
Evansville, Wis. – In a boost to alternative energy development in the state, Gov. Jim Doyle has committed $4 million in grant money for the construction of the first soybean crushing facility in Wisconsin.
The grant will be awarded to Landmark Services Cooperative, a farmer-owned cooperative that will build a processing plant with the capacity to process 20 million bushels of soybeans annually. A soybean crushing facility separates soybean oil, which can be processed into bio-diesel fuel, from the rest of the bean.
A 62,000-square-foot biodiesel plant, to be developed by North Prairie Productions, also will be co-located with the soybean crushing facility.
Food and biofuels
Given the rising cost of corn, which is attributed to using the crop for corn-based ethanol fuel, the use of food sources for biofuels has become more controversial in the past year. However, the Doyle Administration noted that most of the state’s soybean crop is processed in other states and sold back to Wisconsin farmers for feed.
Wisconsin ranks 14th nationally in soybean production, with 51.9 million bushels produced in 2007, but it’s the only high-producing soybean state without a large-scale soybean crushing facility.
Last year, Wisconsin’s first large-scale commercial biodiesel plant opened in DeForest. It has the capacity of produce 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually from a variety of feedstock sources, including soybean oil.
Evansville is located in Rock County, south of Dane County, and farmers in Dane and Rock counties are the top soybean producers in Wisconsin.
The biodiesel plant is being financed with a combination of state support and money raised from individual investors.
Clean Energy Wisconsin, Doyle’s renewable energy initiative, calls for the state to generate 25 percent of its electricity and 25 percent of the fuels for cars and trucks from renewable sources by the year 2025. It also calls for capturing 10 percent of the market share for renewable energy and bioproducts.
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