Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) expects biodiesel production will more than double at its Ralston, Iowa, plant after finishing upgrades there this week. The $32 million expansion increases the production capacity from 12 to 30 million gallons per year. The biorefinery improvement project, which began in November 2016, included enhancements to logistics and storage capabilities.

“REG is positioned for long-term growth along with the entire biodiesel industry. We are proud of the project’s completion as it shows our ability to deliver more high quality products to meet market demand,” said CEO Randy Howard. “The investment to further expand production was an easy decision for our company with the growth of our feedstock provider (Landus Cooperative) and the state of Iowa’s support of incentivizing higher biodiesel blends.”

REG initially committed $24 million to the project, adding to improvements and investment as the expansion progressed. Over the course of 19 months, 150,000 man-hours were put into the Ralston upgrade, employing as many as 160 workers.

“The Ralston plant was first built in 2002, and as we moved forward with the expansion we also took the time to improve key safety items including a fire protection system and a storm shelter,” said Derek Winkel, executive director of manufacturing operations. “Our new loadout system enhances our ability to efficiently load and unload products for our transportation suppliers and customers.”

REG has three biomass-based diesel refineries in Iowa and a total of thirteen nationwide. The producer has a combined effective production capacity of 565 million gallons per year.

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