Heartwell Renewables and Central Community College develop partnership

The building site for the new renewable diesel plant sits right next to Central Community College’s Hastings campus leading to a relationship between the school and the company
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 9:26 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Whelan Energy and Chief Ethanol plants near Hastings are going to have a new neighbor within the next year. Heartwell Renewables is solidifying a recent connection with a local entity.

The building site for the new renewable diesel plant sits right next to Central Community College’s Hastings campus which has led to a relationship between the school and the company. Campus President, Christopher Waddle said this has benefitted CCC.

“They have been a good neighbor for us. We are currently housing them with one of our buildings on campus that they are leasing from us,” Waddle said. “We are providing quite a bit of industrial training to them. About 43 of their employees are going through process control training and we have also been doing OSHA training, CPR training, and leadership training.”

Waddle said the staff members have acted like they are a part of the community with a recent act of kindness.

“The day before our students moved in, we had a clean-up day on campus,” Waddle said. “Pulling weeds and trimming trees and so on and they sent about fifty of their employees out with our employees to do that for a couple of hours.”

Heartwell Renewables has also donated $100,000 in scholarship funds and is continuing to work with the college on grant opportunities. Not only can students get money resources but also a hands-on learning experience in the future.

”As we go forward, we have had discussions about how we can incorporate some of our heavy equipment students cause a lot of ground moving there and maybe have an interest in learning more about the company and maybe even be a future employee.” Waddle said.

The plant is set to open at the end of 2024 with all construction activity being done in 2025. Shawn Romero is the reliability leader for the site and said 15-20 people have relocated to Nebraska for this project alone. In the midst of the construction, the price tag has increased a bit.

“When we originally looked at building the project, it was lower, but since we started construction, it has been pretty consistent,” Romero said. “The projected cost on the project right now is going to be over $ 500 million by completion of the project.”

Not only have CCC and Heartwell Renewables been able to benefit each other, but the company said the community support has been great.

“It has been great for the community. All of the local vendors we have interacted with have been incredibly helpful and the community has been extremely welcoming and can’t ask for a better city than Hastings to build,” Romero said.