Toledo refinery gets $20M in federal funding

By Colleen Wells - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Federal stimulus dollars will fund a biodiesel facility near UTMC that turns agricultural waste into fuel and create about 100 jobs.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Energy Steven Chu were in town for the announcement of the $25 million project. A $20-million majority of the funding comes from federal dollars.

Red Lion Bio-Energy turns agricultural waste such as lumber chips, wheat straw and corn cobs into a clean, diesel substitute. The project is a pilot plant to be used as an "example" facility for others across the country.

"It creates real opportunities for farmers, who have this waste product they don't know what to do with," said Vilsack, "Now it becomes a valuable asset, which brings more wealth to rural communities, which in turns help create more jobs."

He also calls such projects "America's new frontier," and he says it will reduce dependence on foreign oil while boosting the local agricultural economy.

The cabinet members said the funding was very competitive, but they chose this area because they believe the project will be successful in Toledo.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said that's because of our farming resources. "We understand the importance of the agriculture as we sit in this soy bean and corn bowl here. We know that we can feed the world and fuel the world."

Red Lion Bio-Energy LLC., of Toledo, was one of three joint applicants for the federal stimulus grant. The others were the Renewable Energy Institute International and Pacific Renewable Fuels, both of Sacramento, Calif.

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