BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) — An idle biodiesel plant in southeast Nebraska will soon be renovated and resume producing fuel near Beatrice.
Flint Hills Resources is planning to retrofit the plant it bought at auction, so it will produce 50 million gallons of biodiesel and employ 45, the Beatrice Daily Sun reported (http://bit.ly/1l3iNSo  ).
Jake Reint, spokesman for Flint Hills Resources, said the company is confident it will be able to move forward with the plant and make upgrades to use the new technology Flint Hills developed with Benefuel Inc.
"This is the first commercial scale use of this technology, which is really exciting we're able to use this Beatrice facility to bring innovative technology to life," he said. "We hope the people there are excited about that. We certainly look forward to becoming part of the community."
Beatrice Mayor Dennis Schuster said he's glad the company decided the plant is usable because it will add a new business to the area.
"It's an excellent sign that they finally made a commitment and this thing is going forward," Schuster said.
The plant was built in 2007 for roughly $50 million, but construction setbacks and the rising cost of soybean oil forced Beatrice Biodiesel to file for bankruptcy protection in 2008. It sold at auction in 2011 for $5 million.
Flint Hills and Benefuel plan to use new technology that will allow them to use cheaper feedstock, such as used vegetable oil or an ethanol byproduct called distillers corn oil.
Reint said that should improve the profitability of the plant.
An idle biodiesel plant in southeast Nebraska will soon be renovated and resume producing fuel near Beatrice.