(Michelle Felter, Staff)
New owners Mike Ellis and Ruby Mladenobic signed contracts at the Bank of New Madrid on the $7 million plant in mid-May. The plant opened shortly after, working to produce its first batch of biodiesel.
After producing the first batch, the plant shut down to send a sample to the Environmental Protection Agency for an inspection test before opening for full production.
Since re-opening, about 14,000 gallons of fuel goes through the processing line daily, said Jerry McDowell, plant manager. Biodiesel is made through a chemical process called transesterification where glycerin is separated from the fat or vegetable oil. The process leaves behind two products -- methyl esters (the chemical name for biodiesel) and glycerin (a byproduct usually sold for use in soaps and other products).
Production at ME Bio Energy began full-swing in early July, said McDowell.
"We're just starting to pick up with our deliveries," he said. "The plant is averaging two trucks a day delivering supplies, and two trucks a day picking up the product."
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