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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lilbourn biodiesel plant re-opens

Sunday, September 12, 2010

(Photo)
Jay Hammock, supervisor at ME Bio Energy in Lilbourn, performs samples of the biodiesel produced there. To ensure quality, samples pulled from different points on the production line are pulled hourly.
(Michelle Felter, Staff)
LILBOURN -- After sitting empty for almost three years, the biodiesel plant in Lilbourn is up and running under the new name of ME Bio Energy LLC.

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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