Fifth Largest U.S. Biodiesel Plant Opens at Erie

Lake Erie Biofuels gearing up to produce 45 million gallons of biodiesel a year.

An old industrial brownfield site outside of Erie, Pa., is getting a $60 million economic makeover. Early this week, Lake Erie Biofuels hosted a ceremonial opening of its 45 million gallon capacity biodiesel refinery.

A string of black railroad tanker cars delivered the first soybean oil to the plant that expects to reach plant capacity for pure biodiesel (B100) late this year or early in 2008, according to Brad Davis, president of the company. At 45 million gallons, it will be one of the five largest biodiesel refineries in the country.

And, Davis, notes that it may be the only U.S. plant to refine vegetable oil, recycled grease and animal fats. Lake Erie Biofuels is targeting their product to three markets: petroleum diesel and home heating oil blenders and exports to Europe.

Tax benefits package

Last December, a $625,000 grant was awarded to the company via Pennsylvania's Alternative Fuels Incentives Grant Program. It represents a 5-cents-per-gallon production credit and reimbursement for up to 12.5 million gallons per year for biodiesel meeting certified quality specifications.

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