Vireol Bio Energy LLC will commission the former Osage Bio Energy facility and begin production of ethanol in the City of Hopewell. The company, which will produce ethanol from corn, barley and other small grains, will invest more than $26.2 million to begin production at the facility, creating 70 new jobs in the process. The new state of the art plant will be the largest ethanol plant on the East Coast of the United States. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with the City of Hopewell and Vireol Bio Energy on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).
Peter McGenity, Chief Executive at Vireol Bio Energy LLC stated, “We’re delighted to announce that we will be starting production of renewable ethanol this month and we are looking forward to a long and successful future for Vireol in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We greatly appreciate the wide-ranging support from our US partners, including the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Hopewell. Governor McAuliffe and the Commonwealth have recognized the potential of this opportunity and have provided us with the perfect springboard to launch into the US. Their support has been central to the decision to invest on the other side of the Atlantic.”
In addition to the investment and jobs created in Hopewell, Vireol Bio Energy will spend more than $100 million to purchase from Virginia producers approximately 21.7 million bushels of grains that the company will need over the next three years, providing new opportunities for Virginia’s farmers. Vireol Bio Energy plans to produce over 170 million gallons of ethanol over a three year period, utilizing corn, wheat and barley, which will ultimately be blended with gasoline for fuel.
The company will improve the facility’s ethanol production capabilities as well as expand and construct new value-added processes at the site. One major co-produce byproduct of Vireol Bio Energy’s ethanol production are dried distiller grains (DDGs), a high protein feed ingredient, sought out by poultry and livestock producers. The company is also investing in a facility to capture the high-quality carbon dioxide that is created during fermentation that is utilized for beverage carbonation and food preservation.
A $250,000 AFID grant is being awarded to the City of Hopewell to assist the Vireol Bio Energy in the restart and expansion of the ethanol plant. Hopewell is providing a rebate of their local machinery and tool tax, an incentive offered to businesses in their Enterprise Zone, as the required local match for the grant. The company will also receive Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) employee training incentives, various state Enterprise Zone incentives and qualifies for the Biofuels Production Incentive Grant, recently passed by the General Assembly.