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Unique $200m biofuels project set to begin

Following the closure of the Mendota, Illinois-based Spreckles Sugar plant two years ago, resulting in 200 job losses, the Mendota Advanced Bioenergy Beet Cooperative (ABBC) is now looking to inject new life into the facility.

The group of farmers known as the ABBC are expected to receive a state grant of $1.5 million (€1.15 million) that will see work start on the derelict plant.

When complete the $200 million proposed project will produce ethanol, electricity and compressed natural gas (CNG) from 15,000 acres of sugar beets and orchard prunings.

If successful the plant will be the first of its kind in the US, employing around 100 people and generating an estimated $100 million in yearly sales. Operations are set to begin in 2014.

An established sugar beet grower commented: ‘There are a lot of people who would like for this to happen. We need something like this.’