• Ron Kotrba

Expansion of Minnesota soy crush plant on track for completion in late 2021

Progress on an expansion project at CHS Inc.’s soybean crush plant in Fairmont, Minnesota, is on schedule for completion in late 2021, according to Tom Malecha, vice president of operations for CHS Global Grain & Processing.

“To date, we’re on track,” Malecha told Biobased Diesel Daily. The project, first announced in September 2019, will expand crush capacity at the facility by 30 percent.

Malecha said the Fairmont plant currently processes 55 million bushels of soybeans a year and, once the expansion is complete, the facility will purchase upwards of 72 million bushels of soybeans from regional producers.

“The Fairmont plant produces 600 million pounds of crude soybean oil annually,” Malecha said. “We anticipate expanded production capacity of up to 30 percent,” which would put crude soybean oil production at about 780 million pounds per year.

The Fairmont plant produces crude soybean oil, soybean meal and soybean hulls.

“The crude oil is transported to the CHS soybean processing facility at Mankato, Minnesota, for further refining to produce refined edible soybean oil,” Malecha said. “In addition to its primary focus, CHS Fairmont is a competitive supplier to the biofuels market for decades, and within the past year, renewable fuels ingredient sales have become part of our sales strategies.”

According to Malecha, the expansion will improve plant safety, operating efficiencies and overall capacity.

To accommodate the 30 percent increase in soybean processing, the project includes construction of five additional buildings and storage bins, while two existing structures are undergoing modification.

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