Biodiesel availability grows in Iowa, as capacity surges 20%

Iowa Biodiesel Board requests continued funding of infrastructure program by state lawmakers.

By Rod Swoboda, Wallaces Farmer

Biodiesel production is expanding in Iowa, and proactive state policies have played a pivotal role in keeping the state’s title as the nation’s leading producer. At its recent Biodiesel Day on the Hill, the Iowa Biodiesel Board announced that the state’s capacity to produce biodiesel is on the rise by nearly 20%, from 334 million gallons a year to almost 400 million gallons a year. Expansion projects currently underway or recently completed led to the boost.

“It’s no accident that Iowa’s biodiesel manufacturing sector is thriving above all other states,” says Grant Kimberley, IBB executive director. “Our proactive state biodiesel policies have effectively increased production and consumption in Iowa, benefiting our economy.” Those policies include the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, which provides grants to help fuel distributors and retailers modernize equipment to include biofuels.

Members and supporters of IBB met with state legislators at the recent Biodiesel Day on the Hill to ask for funding for the program for another year. “It’s important that we continue to create opportunities for customers to access these clean-burning homegrown fuels,” says Bill Northey, Iowa secretary of agriculture. “Iowa is fortunate to have many retailers making significant investments to provide their customers with renewable fuels, and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program is available to support their efforts.”

Cost-share helps retailers install pumps
The program has resulted in 261 new biodiesel retail pumps and 55 terminal locations throughout the state since 2006, giving all Iowans greater access to this American-made renewable fuel.

Biodiesel plants that have recently expanded capacity or are in the process include:
• AGP at Sergeant Bluff, from 30 million gallons a year to 60 mgy
• REG at Ralston, from 12 mgy to 30 mgy
• Western Iowa Energy at Wall Lake, from 30 mgy to 45 mgy

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