SENECA, ILLINOIS, U.S. — The Renewable Energy Group (REG) formally opened the latest in a series of major enhancements to its biodiesel operations on Nov. 15 with a ribbon cutting at the new barge loading facility at the company’s Seneca, Illinois, U.S., biorefinery. 

State and local officials and business leaders joined REG leadership to mark the occasion, as well as witness the first barge shipment of 420,000 gallons of biodiesel from the multi-feedstock, 60-million-gallon annual nameplate capacity plant located by the Illinois River. The barge loading facility will be supported by the addition of 2.5 million gallons of new terminal storage. REG’s total investment in these upgrades is about $4.5 million. 

“The barge berth at REG Seneca further enhances our lower-cost, efficient business model,” said Daniel J. Oh, president and chief executive officer of Renewable Energy Group, Inc. “Adding more barge capabilities to our network of biorefineries and terminals across the country gives REG another capability for providing high quality biodiesel to our existing and future customers.” 

Biodiesel is also shipped from Seneca by truck and rail. REG also has barge and deepwater ship loading capability at its Houston, Texas, U.S., biorefinery and its New York Harbor terminal location at the IMTT facility in Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S. REG owns and operates eight biodiesel refineries in four states with a combined annual nameplate production capacity of 257 million gallons. 

“Every full barge that leaves Seneca equates to about 65 truckloads of biodiesel,” said Brad Albin, REG vice-president, manufacturing. “This not only increases efficiencies, but expands the geography and customer base we can cover through the inland waterways system.” 

The Seneca barge facility marks the fourth major project completion or announcement of a new project by REG in the last three months. A multi-feedstock upgrade was recently completed at the Albert Lea, Minnesota, U.S., biorefinery. Late last month, REG opened the 30-million-gallon Mason City, Iowa, U.S., biodiesel plant it had acquired in July 2013. At that event, REG also announced a $20 million multi-feedstock upgrade project for the facility. 

“These moves show the strength of REG’s commitment to remaining a leader in the biodiesel industry and our ability to remain well-positioned to succeed in an evolving biodiesel marketplace,” Oh said.