The largest biodiesel producer in the Eastern United States is getting larger, and stronger. Lake Erie Biofuels dba HERO BX purchased the assets of a Clinton, Iowa biodiesel facility from Tenaska Commodities, LLC, an affiliate of Tenaska, Inc.
The ambitious HERO BX Founder & CEO Samuel P. “Pat” Black, III, has been eyeing strategic acquisitions across the United States and quickly found a second facility in Iowa. HERO BX began a tolling arrangement at the Iowa Renewable Energy (IRE) facility in Washington, Iowa, in May 2018. “Expanding our expertise harvested from our flagship plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, nationwide is part of our growth strategy.”
The Clinton plant is particularly strategically located in east central Iowa, on the Illinois border, and within driving distance to the Chicago markets.
Tim Keaveney, Executive Vice President of Business Development at HERO BX offered, “We are bullish on biodiesel and all Iowa has to offer. It is a terrific market, feedstock is plentiful, and Iowa along with neighboring state Illinois have tax incentives in place for biodiesel. It’s a very attractive geography to produce and sell biodiesel.”
Tenaska Commodities offered a market-ready, operational asset where HERO BX will apply many of its proprietary processes that continue to set the company apart from its competition.
HERO BX Vice President of Operations John Nies added that a new acid esterification process will be added along with, “new reactors to increase efficiency along with cooling towers and boilers allowing the facility to reach desired production capacity.”
HERO BX cites the professionalism of Tenaska Commodities as a main reason for the expedited and aggressive timeline of acquisition and operation. Chris Peterson, President of HERO BX spoke highly of the process, “Tenaska and staff were gracious and courteous and made what could have been difficult and tedious, very smooth and easy. We are grateful.”
HERO BX expects the upgrades to be completed by mid-Q4 2018 and production to begin. This acquisition brings the production complement of HERO BX to Erie, Pennsylvania; Moundville, Alabama; South Roxana, Illinois; tolling at the IRE facility in Washington, Iowa as well as blending and distribution in North Hampton, New Hampshire.
“I get by with a little help from my friends…”
It’s been a big year for HERO BX, not just with this new acquisition, but with smart partnerships. We all know superheroes don’t usually work alone. They join forces to fight the evil-doers. They work together for the common good.
“It takes two to tango.”
“Two heads are better than one.”
“I get by with a little help from my friends.”
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
The sayings go on and on about how things are always better with more people, and that seems to be the case with HERO BX as they proceed with smart partnerships to move their business further.
In May, the Digest reported that HERO BX invested $1 million in a Penn State biofuels lab. Students are working with HERO BX chemists and other researchers to reduce the sulfur in biodiesel feedstocks, which are processed for reuse as transportation fuels and heating oil. Subsequent studies will focus on increasing the efficiency of biodiesel in cold-temperature applications, including commercial aviation.
HERO BX announced a strategic partnership with Iowa Renewable Energy LLC based in Washington, Iowa, to manufacture and market biodiesel from IRE’s Iowa facility, as reported in The Digest in April. “It has been my ambition to expand the biodiesel expertise harvested from our flagship plant in Erie, Pennsylvania, nationwide much like has already happened in Alabama and in New Hampshire,” said HERO BX founder and CEO Samuel P. “Pat” Black III. “Now we will call Iowa our newest home. Accomplishing this milestone alongside IRE, a company that shares our commitment to quality, corporate culture and core values is key to achieving our joint vision. To be operating in Iowa—America’s epicenter for renewable energy—allows HERO BX to operate together with some of the pioneers who helped build this great industry.”
HERO BX launched a branded bioheat Program in Pennsylvania last year, offering heating oil retailers the opportunity to carry the HERO BX brand and supporting technical and marketing benefits in exchange for Bioheat supply contracts. As reported by The Digest in January 2017, HERO BX leased a 5,000-barrel storage facility in North Hampton, NH to help jumpstart the program. HERO BX invested in the infrastructure that allows for biodiesel/heating oil rack blends from B2 through B80, allowing branded retail dealers an automated solution for Bioheat supply and distribution.
HERO BX doesn’t just have a cool name. They are living and breathing their name. Between the acquisition and turning around a sitting bare biodiesel facility to bring jobs back to the area and striking up key partnerships and agreements with others like Penn State’s biofuels lab, Iowa Renewable Energy LLC, and the bioheat program, HERO BX is acting very much like a super hero.