Diesel plant bringing operation, jobs to Hastings

Mayor “excited” for new business
Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 11:21 AM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - CIty and state officials are expressing excitement after plans have been made public for a renewable diesel production facility to be located in Hastings.

The plant will be a 50/50 joint venture between the Love’s Family of Companies and Cargill. They will produce and market renewable diesel, a green fuel experiencing strong, rising demand.

The joint venture is called Heartwell Renewables and will result in the construction of a new production plant and more than 50 jobs in Hastings The plant will have the ability to produce approximately 80 million gallons annually of renewable diesel.

Hastings mayor Corey Stutte confirms that the plan is for the plant to be located on former city land located to the west of Whelen Energy Center located on East Highway 6 on the east edge of Hastings.

“We’re very excited as a city and state for this project,” said Stutte. " It will provide a lot of new jobs - and high paying jobs - so, we excited to have them in town.”

“The Heartwell Renewables facility presents an exciting combination of agriculture and renewable energy that will create new jobs and continue to grow our state’s economy,” said Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. “Nebraska is the ideal location for this venture, leveraging our expertise in production agriculture and renewable fuels. I look forward to watching Cargill and Love’s grow this endeavor in Hastings.”

According to a press release from the two companies involved in the joint venture, “Cargill will provide feedstock in the form of tallow, a rendered animal fat co-product following protein processing. Once the diesel is produced, Musket, the commodity trading and logistics arm of the Love’s Family of Companies, will transport and market the product in the United States. Heartwell Renewables will be the only entity of its kind to both produce and market renewable diesel all the way to the retail pump”.

“Heartwell Renewables expands the commitment from the Love’s Family of Companies to reduce carbon emissions,” said JP Fjeld-Hansen, vice president of Musket and Trillium, two Houston-based members of the Love’s Family of Companies. “When considering the environmental benefits and performance enhancements of renewable diesel, the creation of Heartwell Renewables is a long-term win for not only the companies involved, but also for consumers and the environment.”

The production process makes renewable diesel chemically identical to petroleum diesel with significant improvements in environmental performance due to its drop in carbon intensity and emissions. Renewable diesel also has a faster combustion speed, which brings more power to an engine and has been shown to lead to lower vehicle maintenance.

“At Cargill, we believe agriculture can be part of the solution to some of the world’s toughest challenges,” said John Niemann, Cargill’s North American lead for protein ingredients and international. “Through the partnership with Love’s, both companies can leverage their unique expertise and resources to address the growing demand for biofuels while making an impact in the communities where we operate.”

Heartwell Renewables will employ at least 50 full-time positions in Hastings. Construction is scheduled to begin in the following weeks, and operations should start in the spring of 2023. Once the plant opens, it will be one of only a handful of renewable diesel plants in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

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