Biodiesel Facility in Durant to Begin Production in March

Article excerpt

A biodiesel production facility in Durant is expected to begin production during the first half of March.

The Durant production facility will be the second biodiesel project for Dallas-based Earth Biofuels.

The City of Durant has received a $500,000 federally funded grant/ loan from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to build a rail spur and industrial road to the biodiesel facility.

The purpose of the grant is to assist businesses and communities to work together to create good-paying jobs, said Tommy Kramer, executive director of the Durant Industrial Authority. The Earth Biofuels plant is a great project for our community and a win-win for everybody.

The $500,000 was provided through the Community Development Block Grant-Economic Development Infrastructure Financing program.

Earth Biofuels has to repay about $130,000 to Durant over 20 years.

This is significant to the development of the plant in Durant, said Tommy Johnson, director of business development for Earth Biofuels.

The State of Oklahoma and the City of Durant have taken extraordinary measures to facilitate this project, Johnson said. The building of a rail spur and industrial road gives the Earth Biofuels complex modern access to three class-one rail carriers. The rail access provides low-cost long-haul shipment and delivery transportation of our raw materials and product, while the road provides the necessary access for local deliveries.

A four-acre site, which served as a feed mill for more than 50 years, was bought in mid-2005 for the Durant plant. Earth Biofuels began construction on the biodiesel production facility in June.

The biodiesel facility will use soybean oil for production and have a capacity of 10 million gallons per year. Completion of the facility was delayed due to Hurricane Katrina. Components of the refinery are being manufactured in Mississippi.

Earth Biofuels also has a biodiesel production facility in Meridian, Miss., with an annual capacity of 2 million gallons.

Durant's facility will be the second commercial biodiesel production plant in Oklahoma.

Green County Bio Diesel Inc. in Chelsea began production in late 2004 and has the capacity to produce 750,000 gallons of biodiesel per year with plans to increase output to 2.5 million gallons annually, said David Allen, who owns the company with Scott Williams.

In the third phase, we will have the capacity to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to put together a plant that can produce 30 million gallons per year, he said. …