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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Pilot plant at ISU to help REG evaluate renewable diesel feedstocks, optimize production

Warner, left, and Wintersteen prepare to cut the ribbon in celebration of the REG-ISU collaboration on a new hydrotreater pilot plant. (Photo: Christopher Gannon, Iowa State University)

Biobased diesel producer Renewable Energy Group Inc. joined Iowa State University at the BioCentury Research Farm for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 4 to celebrate the start of a new hydrotreater pilot plant. According to REG, research at this new pilot plant will support its Geismar, Louisiana, renewable diesel manufacturing facility by helping to evaluate various biomass feedstocks, ultimately accelerating new feedstock and process development to optimize production of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. REG’s Geismar plant is undergoing an expansion from 90 million gallons per year (mgy) to 340 mgy with completion targeted for 2023.

“This project is a result of our longstanding partnership with Iowa State University, and our joint interest in continuing to position the state of Iowa as a hub for innovation and excellence,” said CJ Warner, REG president and CEO. “As one of the first biodiesel and renewable diesel producers in the nation, innovating is in our DNA, and having the capability to develop additional feedstock options for our industry will help meet the growing demand for cleaner fuels.”

ISU President Wendy Wintersteen said, “This project is a great collaboration that highlights the commitment to innovation and leverages the strengths of both REG and ISU.”

The pilot plant is the result of a three-year collaboration between REG and the ISU Bioeconomy Institute. According to REG, the pilot facility is a fully automated, multireactor R&D unit designed by REG’s engineering teams.


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