Local officials in Ellsworth held a ground-breaking ceremony this (Tuesday) morning for Hamilton County’s newest industry. Mark Hill is an official with “Safe Soy Technologies,” a firm that will extract oil from Iowa-grown soybeans using a process developed by a Minnesota engineering firm. Hill says their “super-critical extraction” process uses ultra-cold liquid carbon-dioxide to extract soybean oil that’s high in protein and hasn’t been denatured by the heat of processing. Hill says the equipment will be state-of-the-art, and they have more ambitious plans down the road. The plant will be 60 by 80 feet, and the press will be manufactured by German steel-processing giant Krupp. Builders expect that first press to use somewhere between 25 and fifty tons of soybeans a day, and plan to build another one in the near future that’ll be the main processing facility. Engineers from Crown Iron Works in St. Paul will help run it at first, but Hill says local people will be hried to fill jobs at the Hamilton County plant. He figures it’ll be 9 to sixteen people, especially when the plant’s up and running 24 hours a day. Up front, engineers from Minnesota and “some people that we’re working with from Iowa State” also will lend a hand, to get it running. Hill says “it’s going to be kind of hit-and-miss starting out.” Crown also built equipment for the bio-deisel plant in Wall Lake, Iowa. Ellsworth is along Interstate-35 about 20 miles south of the intersection with Highway 20.
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