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Investors Throw Million of Dollars at Biodiesel Plant

The First Day of Public Stock Sales Generates $20 Million in Commitments

Eileen Mozinski

Dubuque Telegraph-Herald

June 7, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Dubuque Telegraph Herald.]

FARLEY, Iowa - The investments poured in so quickly that the Western Dubuque Biodiesel plant developers believe they met their fund-raising goal in just one day.

"I believe we will be canceling any future equity drive meetings," said George Davis, treasurer and a member of the Western Dubuque Biodiesel Board of Directors. "This is the fastest biodiesel (fundraising) of any project in Iowa."

An estimated 450 to 500 people filled Palace Ballroom in Farley Tuesday morning as the plant's developers held a press conference and opened the public sale of stock with the goal of selling 20,000 shares.

The investments need to be approved by the state securities bureau, according to Davis. He said project coordinators hope to finance the balance of the project by securing $27 million in bank backing.

Investors had to purchase a minimum of 25 shares at $1,000 each and pay 10 percent on the spot.

The proposed $50 million Western Dubuque plant just outside Farley will take up 25 to 30 acres and create 30 jobs.

Using soybean oil, the
plant will produce 100,000 gallons of biodiesel per day in a process that leaves behind small amounts of feed grain fat and glycerin, a product used in many cosmetics.

For every 100 pounds of vegetable oil, 98.9 pounds of biodiesel will be made, according to Bill Schueller, the chair of the project's board of directors.

"So it's pretty efficient," he said. "It's a low-energy deal."

The recently developed BQ9000 fuel that the plant will produce is on the fast track to becoming the industry standard in the 65 active biodiesel plants nationwide, according to Schueller.

Construction is slated to start this summer and the plant is supposed to be fully operational by summer 2007.

Bolstered by legislation signed by Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack last week that grants a 3-cent per gallon tax credit on biodiesel until 2012, participants at Tuesday's meeting praised the plant's development as cutting edge.

"This has been one of the most exciting projects I've worked on," Davis said.

The rapid development of renewable-fuel production in Iowa, including five biodiesel facilities, have made the state energy independent, according to Davis.

"I think the stars are all lined up the right way for this industry," said Brent Halling, deputy secretary for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and a farmer from Dallas County.

The development of renewable technology that is the topic of discussion in federal and state legislatures around the country has been on the radar in Iowa for years, according to Halling.

"For those of us in agriculture, we are thinking to ourselves, 'Hey, welcome to the party,'" he said.

Nearly all of the presenters at the meeting hailed the Western Dubuque plant as playing a paramount role in liberating the U.S. from its dependence on foreign oil.

Monte Shaw, of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association noted, Tuesday's anniversary of D-Day invasion and compared the development of renewable fuels to the World War II Victory Garden effort to support the troops.

"These types of industries are the Victory Gardens of the current effort," he said. "This is an industry that is helping on a global scale."