Planners of a bio-diesel plant northeast of Newton kicked off their equity drive today (Thursday) with a pair of investor meetings. Jim Johnston, a Grinnell-area farmer, is chairman of the board of Central Iowa Energy. He expects 500 or more to attend, and says they’re getting calls all the time from would-be investors and “the interest is just tremendous.” More investor meetings are scheduled tomorrow (Friday) in Grinnell and Pella. Organizers hope to raise 24-Million dollars, about half the projected cost of the bio-diesel plant.
Johnston says interest is high and he thinks raising the money will be easy. He says people all over the state are showing interest and he expects to raise the money in a short time. Since “Central Iowa Energy L-L-C” was formed last June, Johnston says they’ve raised 2-point-4-million dollars in seed capital.
The minimum for investors to put in is 25-thousand dollars. He says they’re asked to put down 10-percent of that when they sign up, and once the equity drive’s complete investors will have 20 days to send in the rest of the money. The plant will use vegetable oils and animal fats to manufacture bio-diesel fuel at the plant northwest of Newton, along the Iowa Interstate Railroad.
Johnston says it’s a “great opportunity” to invest in a business in Newton that uses soybeans from Iowa to produce a fuel that’s environmentally friendly. Organizers hope to start construction work in March for a plant they say will create 28 jobs and produce about 91-thousand gallons of bio-diesel fuel per day.