Published On: Wed, Nov 9th, 2011

Area town may get a new biofuels plant

LAUREL  — An environmentally friendly start-up production company that could provide about 20 new area jobs is raising equity and close to obtaining the necessary financing to begin construction of their proposed plant.
Start up manager, Lou Luedtke, said Laurel BioComposite LLC is a company formed in 2008 to develop, produce and market Bio-ResTM a  bio-based plastic resin enhancer.  It is made from distillers grain, a by-product of ethanol production, and can be used in thermoplastic applications.

Organizers say the total project value, when completed, will be just under $17 million, with $10 million private equity and $7 million debt financing anticipated. The plant is expected to produce 48 million pounds of Bio-Res pellets per year.
Bio-ResTM  is a “green” product that could replace petroleum-based products currently used as fillers and hardeners by manufacturers of thermo-plastics.  Substitution of Bio-ResTM  for petroleum-based products could cut production costs for these manufacturers.
Bio-ResTM is also environmentally friendly because it sequesters carbon dioxide, is made from a renewable/sustainable resource and does not use toxic compounds during processing.
Testing of Bio-ResTM  in several manufacturing applications is underway with a growing number of companies.  Results have been encouraging.
Because it is made from corn-based distillers grain, which is non-edible, it does not affect food supplies and could, indirectly, reduce the cost of foods because many foods are packaged in plastic.
Seed money from the original investors has provided for the research, securing a location, contracting a company to build the plant and funds to build and operate a pilot plant.
This pilot facility, located nearby, at Coleridge, will soon be operational and produce approximately 1 million pounds of Bio-Res PE, in pellet form.  Until the plant is completed, the pilot plant will support customer trials and help define specific performance property improvements “We will spend most of next year building the plant and should be operational by the fall of next year,” Luedtke said.
Luedkte, who comes to Laurel from Ohio, said, “Just the fact that people were willing  to put up seed money for economic development says a lot.”
The City of Laurel and Economic Development Coordinator, Annette Junck, have worked closely with them.
Junck said because Laurel BioComposite made a commitment to locate in Laurel, the city received a Community Block Development Grant to pave the access road and complete the infrastructure in the Laurel Industrial Park where Laurel BioComposite has an option on five acres. Cedar-Knox PPD and Source Gas are interested in being part of the project, as well.
Laurel BioComposite is not only good for Laurel, but for all of Northeast  Nebraska, Junck said.
It utilizes by-products of two nearby ethanol plants, provides jobs in the area and, according to Luedtke, “may entice other companies that could use their product to locate nearby.”
For further information, contact Lou Luedtke at the Laurel office, 402-256-9053 visit the website laurelbiocomposite.com.

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