U.S. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa lauded Wednesday’s unveiling of the Green Plains Renewable Energy Algae Project in Shenandoah. The project has been working on new technologies to grow algae for the purpose of producing biodiesel and feed for livestock.

“As a longtime frontrunner in the biofuels industry, Iowa is no stranger to the benefits of producing clean, domestic sources of energy. This algae project is truly innovative and will generate good jobs here in our state and test a new approach to utilizing the carbon dioxide emitted from ethanol plants to grow algae, which has the potential to one day be converted into fuel,” said Harkin. “Additionally, this facility will provide feedstock for our farmers and ranchers in an environmentally sustainable way. The renewable energy industry, the environment, famers and the Iowa economy all stand to benefit from this project, and I congratulate the organizations involved.”

If their algae production process is successful, Green Plains expects to scale up and expand the facility to mass produce algae and extract oil from it, which will be used to make biodiesel. After the oil is extracted, the remaining high protein meal product will be used to feed poultry and swine. It is expected that the plant will produce 51,000 tons of high protein meal product and $5.8 million gallons of biodiesel each year.

Harkin has led efforts in Congress to promote the growth of renewable fuels production, including authoring the first energy title ever in a farm bill in 2002 and then strengthening those energy initiatives to boost innovative bioenergy projects in the energy title of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, the farm bill.