WisBusiness: Hearing set for proposed Cashton biodiesel plant

By Gregg Hoffmann

CASHTON – The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing this Thursday for a plan by BEST Energies Inc. of Madison to build a biodiesel plant at the Cashton Greens Business Park.

The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. at the Cashton Community Center, 812 Main St., and center on the proposed construction and operation permits of the plant.

BEST hopes to have the plant ready to produce biodiesel fuel from soybean oil by April 1. The facility will be called BEST BioEnergy Park of Cashton. The biodiesel fuel produced at the plant will be sold to distributors who will blend it with petroleum diesel fuel.

Neil Young, president and CEO of BEST, said his company is negotiating with several suppliers for the soybean oil.

A pyrolysis unit near the plant also could eventually produce electricity by using synthetic gas made from manure and sawdust.

There are some emissions given off in the production of biodiesel fuel, but DNR officials said the plant looks to meet all standards in that area. Biodiesel fuel burns cleaner than pertroleum-based fuels.

BEST expects to employ 15 people at the biodiesel plant and perhaps 12 at the pyrolysis unit.

The biodiesel plant would be the second major facility in the Cashton Greens park. Organic Valley has started construction of a distribution center in the park.