Groveland fast becoming biodiesel central
The city of Groveland is poised to become home to one of the largest concentrations of biodiesel plants in the U.S., should plans to operate three facilities there by early next year come to fruition.
Biodiesel plants make biodiesel fuel with used fryer grease, animal fats and grease collected in restaurant grease traps.
Together, the three Groveland plants -- CleanFuel LLC, Southern Energy Holdings Inc. and Summit Biodiesel -- represent a significant investment in the area: Southern Energy estimates its operation alone cost $5 million -- and the three firms could create up to 100 jobs, paying a minimum of $15 an hour.
CleanFuel now produces 1 million gallons of biodiesel a year and plans to increase that to 5 million-6 million gallons annually. To do so, the plant -- which now has 20 workers -- eventually will add 10 more.
Maher, who has his sights set on becoming the largest biodiesel producer in the Southeast with his CleanFuel operation, has invested $20 million thus far in the industry. He is building another plant near Allentown, Pa., and plans to buy two other plants next year.
Meanwhile, Southern Energy Holdings will start its operation next month, initially producing 350,000 gallons a month and, over time, increase to 1 million gallons a month. The $2.5 million plant, being built at 15380 County Road 565A, will employ 10 to 12 people.