Michigan Township may build soybean fuel processing plant

| 5/21/2002

A Zeeland Township company may become the first in Michigan to build a plant to refine soybeans for use as fuel in trucking operations. The operation hinges on whether a state grant would make the proposed landsite tax exempt.

The Holland Sentinel reported Zeeland Farm Services is planning to seek an agricultural processing renaissance zone designation from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. for an unidentified 14-acre site in the township.

In 1996, Zeeland Farm Services built an $8 million soybean processing plant providing area soybean farmers with a location to sell their products and for others to buy livestock food. Soybean oil for salad dressing, margarine and mayonnaise are also produced at the Zeeland Township facility.

Zeeland Township Supervisor Brad Slagh said he believes the fuel processing plant makes sense. "Potentially making a diesel fuel and running vehicles off a renewable resource rather than a one-time fuel use is something I think we'd be interested in helping come about."

The new plant would create more than 100 new jobs, both directly at the plant and indirectly through construction and other business.