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home : local news : local news July 3, 2020

1/10/2007 2:21:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
More investors sought for local biodiesel plant


Construction of a proposed biodiesel production plant in Newton is drawing closer to reality. But commitments from more local investors are needed soon.

According to Dick Grogg, Project Coordinator for National Trail Biodiesel Group, everything is coming together.

"We have our permits from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency," he said. "Most of the engineering has been completed and we have most of the equity investment required."

The board of directors of the proposed plant has been working with a financial institution to have the financing in place when the necessary equity has been raised. While the efforts to reach their equity goal has been slower than hoped for, representatives of the limited liability company are pleased that they have more than $5 million so far without any one investor holding as much as five percent of the ownership.

"Thus far, it has all come from smaller investors - about 190 in all," Gross said.

The additional time has given the group a chance to look at other facets of the project. They have been talking with risk management advisors and procurement specialists who will be involved in helping secure adequate raw materials at the best prices. They've made application for a State of Illinois "renewable fuels" grant and have completed other grant applications as well. And the engineering has been under review to determine how to keep the cost of construction under control.

But there is a concern about completing the current equity offering as soon as possible. Board President Kent Probst noted that people who have been considering investment need to come forward soon.

"We're trying to bring economic development to this area with a grass-roots, home-owned manufacturing plant. But we must reached the minimum needed in our current membership offering and have our financing in place before the end of February. That means we need to raise another $250,000 from in-state investors very quickly."

Grogg said people may not realize the economic impact of a locally owned facility that employs 25 to 30 people.

"When you consider the wages paid during construction, the annual wages and benefits, and the dividends paid to investors the cumulative total through the first five years of operation is over $25 million. To get a real estimate of its importance you must also consider the ancillary jobs produced, the additional money spent in hospitality services and the number of times the income will turn over in the community."

It is hoped that site work and construction of the 30 million gallon-per-year facility, which will be located in the Southtown Industrial Park in Newton, can begin by early spring. It should take about a year to complete.

Persons wishing further information on investing may contact National Trail Biodiesel Group at 618-783-3697.

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