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Iowa biodiesel plant stops production

W2Fuel in Crawfordsville, Iowa, was capable of producing 10 million gallons of fuel/year.

Engin Akyur |
Engin Akyur |

A biodiesel refinery in Crawfordsville, Iowa, that was capable of producing about 10 million gallons of the fuel each year has ceased operation.

Roy Strom, chief executive of WSFuel, told the Iowa Dispatch they would have liked to keep the company going, but they needed more certainty.

To keep the facility in operation would require investments in equipment that might not pay off, he said, depending on how federal policy changes toward the industry. Specifically, it’s unclear how long a $1/gallon federal tax credit for biodiesel production might be extended into future years and whether federal mandates for the use of biofuels will expand.

In fall 2020, W2Fuels closed both the Crawfordsville facility and a biodiesel plant in Michigan citing growing losses. At the time, other Iowa plants, Siouxland Energy Cooperative and Plymouth Energy, also closed given the poor renewable fuels market.

WSFuel's Crawfordville's facility is among 11 biodiesel refineries in Iowa that last year produced a total of about 349 million gallons of the fuel, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IFRA). That was a production increase of about 3% over the previous year but was less than the 365 million gallons produced in 2018.

About 71% of Iowa’s biodiesel is made with soybean oil, according to the IRFA.

Strom told the Dispatch that W2Fuel has no immediate plans to sell the Crawfordville's facility. The company continues to operate the biodiesel refinery in Michigan, where the company is based.

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