Mayor Darrel Downs welcomed the group and hit some high points of what brought the crowd in. He commented, "The board's vision includes having a competitive edge with a flexible front end approach. Using bio-mass pellets for energy will save a tremendous amount in fuel costs. Phase two of the project calls for building a crusher. The bio-diesel plant will be a grass roots plant situated near the present Little Sioux Corn Processors ethanol plant. Lastly it will produce a quality product - BQ 9000."
Iowa Senator Ron Wieck was also present at the meeting. Wieck was instrumental in getting the pellet process off the ground. This process will take 75 percent of the garbage from the Cherokee Landfill and compresses it into small pellets which will burn. A reusable energy heat source for producing bio diesel. By using these pellets, 60 percent of the energy costs will be reduced while prolonging the life of the landfill. Wieck touted the plan as an economic benefit to the area. There will be some risks but overall, the risk is quite small.
Bob Engel, project manager and a former banker, said, "This is a win-win situation. We started the idea of a diesel plant back in November 2002. This group has been very committed for the last 16 months. We purchased 37 1/2 acres and checked out all the resources that will be needed. The pellets for our energy will save over 60 percent when compared to using natural gas."
He went on to say, "This proposed plant will be a state- of- the-art facility and a leader in biodiesel energy. It will produce 30 million gallons a year when it begins production. we will access to the necessary feed stock; soybeans are plentiful; soy oil and animal fat will be available. It will take $58,547,000 to build. The payroll will be right at $1.3 million. It takes one bushel of soybeans to produce 1 gallon of biodiesel."
The board had a feasibility study done, developed an operation agreement, appointed a board and chairman, developed a business plan, found seed capitol to go forth, filed on the required permits, signed market and energy contracts, arranged financing and now are planning to begin construction in the spring of 2007.
The board chose Bratney Company of Des Moines with 40 years of experience, rated number one in safety with a staff of 125, to erect the plant. Baker Group will handle the mechanical efficiency.
The crowd was reminded of the three M's of success: Money, Marketing and Management. The board firmly believes all three are there for bio diesel to become a reality.
With the attitude of Monday's crowd, it will not take long for the proposed plant to have the necessary money.