The Spiritwood, ND Crush Plant is Now Accepting Soybean Deliveries

Green Bison Soybean Processing LLC, North Dakota’s first soybean crushing plant, is in the early stages of processing soybeans for meal and oil.

The new plant, located in Spiritwood, began accepting soybeans in September 2023, when trucks began dumping at the facility’s two truck receiving pits, each with the capacity to unload 20 trucks an hour.

When it reaches full operating capacity, the plant will process 150,000 bushels of soybeans a day, says Mike Keller, president of Green Bison. The plant will produce 600 million pounds of refined soybean oil annually, he tells Processing Journal, for processing into renewable diesel fuel. It will also generate 1.28 million tons of soybean meal, which will be marketed to livestock producers in the region and sold for export.

“We will provide a 12-month, year-around competitive local destination for the region’s soybean production,” Keller says. Green Bison is a joint venture between ADM, which owns a 75% stake in the plant, and Marathon Petroleum Corp., which owns the remaining 25%. According to Keller, the plant cost approximately $350 million and features state-of-the-art automation technology. The Rise of Joint Ventures The Green Bison joint venture is another example of the connections being forged between agri-processors like ADM and energy companies like Marathon. In Iowa, Phillips 66 holds a minority ownership stake in Shell Rock Soy Processing in Shell Rock, IA. Some of the soy oil from the plant, which began processing soybeans in January 2023, is being used by Phillips 66 to make renewable fuels. All 600 million pounds of soy oil that the Green Bison plant produces will be supplied to Marathon, including its renewable diesel facility located in Dickinson, ND, 211 miles west of Spiritwood. Green Bison Soy’s soybean oil output will be enough for approximately 75 million gallons of renewable diesel. Small amounts of renewable naphtha and renewable propane are also produced when processing the soybean oil into renewable diesel.

West Coast Destination

Most of the renewable diesel produced by Marathon is being sold on the West Coast, Keller remarks, with some also sold locally in North Dakota. “Renewable diesel fuel is a drop-in replacement for traditional petroleum-based diesel and can be used for any application that traditional diesel fuel is used for,” he adds.

The 1.28 million tons of soybean meal produced annually by Green Bison will be marketed to both domestic and international customers. “We are leveraging our global distribution network. The facility will have access to rail, allowing for exporting of products through the Pacific Northwest.”

He declined to disclose how much soybean storage, soybean oil storage, and soybean meal storage the plant has.

Leaders from ADM and Marathon Petroleum celebrated the official groundbreaking of the Green Bison Soy processing facility on June 2, 2022.

The new complex currently employs approximately 75 people. The plant’s annual payroll wasn’t disclosed.

KFI Engineers, St. Paul, MN, was the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor for Green Bison.

“Although the project team encountered challenges throughout the life of the project,” Keller says, “the team rallied in support, bringing forth creative solutions to overcome all obstacles. We expect the plant to run at high utilization rates, especially as we look forward to the growing demand for both vegetable oil and meal.”

Jerry Perkins, contributing editor

From 4Q 2023 Processing Journal