Ribbon cutting for REG’s $21 million expansion

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ALBERT LEA, Minn. — As the interest in biofuels grows around the world, so does the need for space to produce the energy source.

“It’s a renewable fuel that has got 80 percent less emissions,” said Brad Albin, Vice President of Manufacturing for Renewable Energy Group (REG).

That is causing an area facility to grow.

“These are very good paying jobs, highly technical jobs, 25 to 30 jobs will be here,” Albin said.

REG is a leading biodiesel producer with a plant in Albert Lea. That facility just underwent a $21 million expansion to help them use a larger variety of fuel sources.

“Feed stocks like corn oil coming out of the ethanol plants, used cooking oil coming out of fryers all over the place and tallow, which are high FFA (free fatty acid) that allow us to make a high quality biodiesel with a vast amount of feed stocks,” Albin said.

It may only be an addition to a facility in southern Minnesota, but the impacts will be felt all over the country.

“It’s going to be part of, a big part of, our national fuel portfolio, which will help wean us off of foreign oil,” said U.S. Sen. Al Franken, DFL-Minnesota.

He said it is a new way for the state of Minnesota to contribute to the national economy.

“We don’t have oil, we don’t have natural gas, we don’t have coal, but we are contributing to a big part of the energy portfolio of this country, we are creating jobs and we are making the environment cleaner,” Franken said.

What makes REG happy is the way it helps them change the game for biofuels.

“This gives us the capability to use all these different types of feed stocks instead of just one, so that flexibility is huge in our industry,” Albin said.

REG says the expansion now equips this particular facility with the highest technology in the industry. They say they will continue to upgrade their other plants as well.

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