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Natural Chem has new ideas for ethanol plant

A former ethanol production facility in Heyburn, Idaho, US, could soon be home to three individual businesses after Natural Chem Holdings acquired it for $2.4 million (€1.7 million) from Renova Energy, when the ethanol company filed for bankruptcy back in 2008.

Under Natural Chem's ownership, a new biogas plant will be built on the site, which will transport natural gas to states located to the west of the nation, according to CEO Bob Salazar. Natural Chem is also planning to sell wholesale ethanol and biodiesel fuel blends and build a facility that produces food and pharmaceutical-grade glycerine.

'Renova plowed a lot of the ground and did a lot of work,' Salazar explains. 'We're going to be finishing their dream and making it better.'

The expansion project, estimated to cost around $22 million, will see 65 new jobs created throughout the three units. Renova had planned to utilise by-products sourced from nearby cheese plants to produce biogas, however Natural Chem will now invest $4 million on a purifying system that will produce gas capable of meeting natural gas pipeline standards.