Freeport-based company purchases Danville plant with help from state

By Susan Kantor

Blackhawk Biofuels, LLC has completed the purchase of a 45 million gallons per year biodiesel plant in Danville, Ill.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Thursday that the state will contribute $19.8 million in addition to the $25 million in funding from Blackhawk to finish the construction and upgrades to the plant.

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Blackhawk, a company based in Freeport, Ill., has been interested in purchasing the plant since early March, said Quentin Davis, secretary of the Board of Managers for Blackhawk Biofuels.

“It’s one of the few locations left in the U.S. that has a soybean crushing facility,” Davis said. The proximity of the soy crushing plant to the biodiesel plant was one of the deciding factors in pursuing the plant.

Blackhawk plans to upgrade the plant to a multi-feedstock capable plant, enabling the facility to produce biodiesel from corn, animal fats and soybeans. A multi-feedstock plant helps to broaden the options of available materials since single-feedstock plants are built to produce biodiesel from soy beans.

Davis said construction will begin immediately and is estimated to be completed in six to eight months. Davis also said that the plant will create between 15 and 18 jobs once it is operational. He said that the increase in trucking and railways needed for the plant will give some boost to the local economy as well.

“It’s another source of locally produced fuel that helps minimize our dependence on foreign oil,” Davis said.