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REG Newton unveils $13.2 million upgrade

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 10:51 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014 11:01 a.m. CST
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(Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)
Newton Mayor Michael Hansen, Congressman Dave Loebsack and Rep. Dan Kelley along with business and company leaders attended the ribbon cutting for the REG Newton 30 million gallon nameplate biorefinery upgrade Monday.

Renewable Energy Group (REG) Newton unveiled its $13.2 million, 30 million gallon nameplate biorefinery upgrade Monday.

Congressman Dave Loebsack along with Deputy Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Michael Naig joined community and business leaders to mark the occasion with a ribbon cutting and presentation.

“I applaud REG for their focus on innovation and economic development in Iowa,” Loebsack said. “The men and women they employ work hard every day to help produce biomass-based fuel. As a long time champion of the Renewable Fuel Standard, I will fight to make sure we never lose our focus on renewable fuels and to expand the renewable energy industry.”

The upgraded process, including distillation, removes impurities and leaves behind a very pure form of biomass-based diesel. The final product exceeds industry quality standards and also performs better in colder temperatures.

An additional $2.6 million was put into the project to expand storage capacity by 2 million gallons and enhance logistics. The upgrade started in February and was completed in November, four months ahead of schedule and on budget.

“Enhancing REG Newton’s distillation and processing capabilities strengthens our lower-cost, multi-feedstock biomass-based diesel business and provides customers with more fuel options both in the Midwest and nationwide,” said Daniel J. Oh, REG President and CEO. “This plant was already a high performing facility that deserved additional investment and I am confident the return on investment will be rapid.”

An end product of the investment is the utilization of a wide array of raw material, including inedible corn oil, REG Vice President Brad Albin said. He said the increased feedstock flexibility helps drive the demand for local feedstock suppliers, helping them to keep their products in the region.

REG owns 10 operational biorefineries in six states with expansion to Germany in its future. Based out of Ames, it is a leader in North American advanced biofuel producer. REG employs 23 full-time employees in Newton.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com