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Patriot will build new biodiesel production facility

ANNAWAN — A 5 million gallon biodiesel production facility will be built adjacent to the Patriot Renewable Fuels’ (PRF) ethanol plant in Annawan.

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a member of the House Ag Committee, was one of the dignitaries who attended a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the site just south of Interstate 80 near Annawan.

Bustos also participated in a roundtable discussion with western Illinois leaders in agriculture, economic development and renewable fuels.

Patriot’s Board of Directors recently approved the formation of a new subsidiary called Patriot Fuels Biodiesel LLC to build the plant that will utilize corn oil extracted from the 40 million bushels of corn that Patriot Renewable Fuels processes annually.

“PRF began corn oil extraction in 2011 and this is a natural extension of that business,” said Vice President and General Manager Rick Vondra. “We have been extracting increasing volumes of corn oil and selling it to other biodiesel producers, or for inclusion into livestock feed. By processing corn oil on-site we can reduce transportation, and marketing costs making Patriot’s biodiesel one of the most cost competitive producers in the biodiesel industry today.”

The funding and development of this project is helped by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity New Generation Biofuels Production Program. Biodiesel blends have been found to significantly reduce the amount of toxic carbon-based emissions, and for this reason are considered an advanced biofuel by the Environmental Protection Agency.

By adding this process, Patriot will produce two fuels from the same amount of corn; ethanol for the automotive industry, and biodiesel for agriculture and the trucking industry. At the same time Patriot will continue to produce dried distillers grain and soluble livestock feed, which is exported to China and other Pacific Rim countries for their growing livestock industry.

Concrete and foundation work will begin in December and the plant is scheduled to begin operation by the third quarter of 2014. The plant will utilize a production system designed by Jatro Diesel, Miamisburg, Ohio.

Rahul Bobbili, Jatro’s vice president, stated, “Jatro has built more than 15 biodiesel plants and is excited that Patriot will use this new technology. The new technology being offered is a single stage, catalyst free, super critical process technology that will process feedstock with free fatty acids up to 100 percent with minimal or no loss in yield. It will completely eliminate the use of a homogenous catalyst such as sodium methylate or a heterogenous catalyst, providing a substantial savings.”

Patriot Renewable Fuels produces 120 million gallons of ethanol per year. The new technology will allow the company to see increased ethanol and corn oil recovery yields, resulting in higher revenue from the five million gallons of biodiesel that will be produced at the new plant, added Vondra.

“Our plant in Annawan has created jobs and stimulated economic growth in our community and beyond. With strength of our 200 local and Midwestern investors, we’ll harness the strength of a diversified product line and continue to make a positive impact on agriculture and economic development,” said Vondra.

Established in 2005 and headquartered in Annawan, Patriot Renewable Fuels produces about 120 million gallons of ethanol per year, 350,000 tons of dried distillers grain with solubles and 20 million pounds of crude corn oil using new technologies. Patriot has created a new market for about 40 million bushels of corn annually, and provides more than 50 full-time jobs.

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