Iowa’s status as a world leader in bio-fuel production is still growing. A group called Nishna Valley Bio Energy is announcing plans to build a large bio-diesel plant in the town of Manilla, in western Iowa’s Crawford County near Denison.

Louis Scheuring is one of the company’s board members. Scheuring says the state-of-the-art plant will produce 60-million gallons of bio-diesel per year using soybean oil, vegetable oils and animal fats as a feed stock. It’ll employ 36 full-time workers. Construction will begin this fall and it could be 16 months before the plant is fully operational.

Scheuring explains why they chose the site in southern Crawford County, near the intersections of Highways 141 and 45. He says five key factors include: rail access, highway access, and proximity to three specific utilities — electricity, water and natural gas. He says the project had its roots last fall and was spearheaded by local producers and businesspeople, though plans changed along the way.

He says the project started as an idea of members of the Manilla Economic Development Corporation as a way to enhance the community. They’d initially planned to build an ethanol plant but it fell through. Scheuring says an equity drive will be announced soon but could not comment on how much equity will be sought.

When construction began on a 30-million-gallon Wall Lake biodiesel plant, it was to be one of the biggest in the country. This Manilla facility is to be twice that size.