CHICAGO - Biodiesel fuel, the fastest growing alternative fuel, will soon be produced at the site of a former naval shipyard in Seneca, Ill. Nova Biosource Fuels Inc., a leading provider of the energy source, will use its proprietary patented process technology to produce approximately 60 million gallons of renewable fuels a year. Creation of this $68 million Seneca facility is a boost to the local economy, bringing construction and supply contracts to local businesses, as well as approximately 30 local jobs when operating permanently.

One of the prime components of the project is the pre-fabricated pipe that transports the biodiesel fuel within the plant. Nova Biosource chose Edwards Engineering Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill., to take on this task because of its cutting edge technology and industrial experience. The project was so large that Edwards opened a separate facility specifically for this project, which is added good news for the Illinois economy. Edwards employs approximately 75 workers in the 50,000-square-foot pre-fabrication facility in Minooka, Ill., and as part of an installation team on-site at the Seneca plant.

Currently, the largest market for biodiesel is vehicle fleets of federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as fleets operating in urban or environmentally sensitive areas. The plant’s end-product is expected to come from locally generated, low-cost feedstocks, including rendered animal fats and oils and recycled vegetable and animal-based greases. It is anticipated that fuel production will begin in early 2008.

“It’s very exciting to have our company involved with the alternative energy market,” said Jim Jacobsen Jr., VP sales and marketing for Edwards Engineering. “We went up against some of the biggest and best contractors in the Chicago area on this project, so we’re extremely proud to have been awarded this project,” he continued. “Working with pipefitters who have the training that Local 597 provides gives us an edge. We have the workers available to us, and they have the expertise to do the job.”

With a database that tracks project status in near real-time, a well-trained workforce, and the latest welding technology in the industry, Edwards has been impressive in its efforts. “This is the best integration of field operations and IT support that we’ve seen in a construction project of this size,” stated Jeff Jones, Nova Biosource onsite project manager.

The Minooka facility, already existing but not being utilized, was outfitted by Edwards for the task of pre-fabricating the pipe. And since the Seneca project site lacked the necessary space and the sites are only 20 miles apart, it worked well logistically.

Edwards was successfully awarded the first two phases of the overall project: the process area and the distillation area. Phase one is to be completed in September with the second phase scheduled to be finished by late October.

Edwards is excited about what they’re contributing to this project, as well as keeping an eye on the future. “This latest venture gives us a nice platform to look at other opportunities,” said Jacobsen. “It is representative of the kind of large magnitude projects that Edwards is uniquely capable of handling.”

Edwards Engineering is a full-service contractor providing integrated solutions for industry as well as HVAC systems for commercial and public projects. Edwards Engineering has designed, installed, and maintained a variety of systems in Fortune 500 companies, major hospitals, and both large and small office buildings and warehouses. More information can be found at and

Nova Biosource Fuels has facilities designed to generate over 230 million gallons of biodiesel in various stages of construction or in operation throughout the U.S. with the most current being the Seneca, Ill., facility.

Publication date:09/10/2007