Construction begins on Seaboard renewable fuel plant

by Eric Schroeder
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SHAWNEE MISSION, KAS. — Seaboard Foods announced it has begun construction on a biodiesel plant to be built in Guymon, Okla. The renewable fuel plant, which will have a capacity to produce 30 million gallons annually, will use animal fats, including pork fat — a byproduct from the Seaboard Foods’ Guymon pork processing plant, and vegetable oils as the feedstock for biodiesel.

The biodiesel plant will be part of the recently created High Plains Bioenergy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Seaboard Foods.

"High Plains Bioenergy will focus on finding renewable energy sources from our integrated system and complements the proactive environmental commitment exhibited in our processing plants and on our farms," said Rod Brenneman, president of Seaboard Foods and High Plains Bioenergy. "We are always looking for opportunities to strategically add value to our system and the biodiesel plant fits well with our long-term plans. It’s a perfect example of High Plains Bioenergy’s mission where we will take a byproduct from our pork processing plant and produce a much higher-valued, clean-burning, renewable fuel."

According to Seaboard, the facility will make biodiesel through a chemical process called transesterification, in which glycerin is separated from fat or vegetable oil. This process creates two products — methyl esters, the chemical name for biodiesel, and glycerin, a byproduct used in food, feed, drugs, cosmetics and lubricants.

Once construction is complete and start-up under way, Seaboard said it plans to hold a grand opening event in 2008. Once operating, the plant will employ 30 to 35 employees.

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