Another biodiesel plant is planned for northwest Iowa — this one near Marcus, in Cherokee County. Officials with “Soy Energy” says the plant will burn pellets of garbage and biomass from a local landfill to heat the steam used in producing 30-million gallons of biodiesel per year.
Cherokee Economic Development Director Mark Buschkamp says there are two phases to the project. It’s a 52 million dollars will be spent on the first phase, the biomass refinery. A second phase, to cost 35-Million more, is planned to include a soybean crusher. Buschkamp says each phase could add up to fifty high-paying jobs. He says the primary energy source for the plant will be pelletized biomass that will come from Cherokee Solid Waste.
Buschkamp explains they’ll make that out of trash headed for the local landfill. He says they’ll sort out the recyclable material and the plastic, metal, and electronic components that could be toxic. The rest — mostly paper, cardboard and food — is compressed into pellets which is then burned and can produce seven to 8,000 BTU’s, what he calls a “good steady, reliable source of fuel.”
Buschkamp says the trash will be a more consistent renewable fuel than solar, wind or crops. And he notes using up the waste will extend the life of the landfill.