US soyabean processor Epitome Energy is moving forward with its plan to build a new US$418bn soyabean crushing plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

With construction scheduled to start in the early part of next year, the new plant would help address the region’s limited processing options, improve markets for local farmers and provide a reliable supply of soyabean products for fuel producers, food companies, and other agribusinesses, Epitome Energy said.

“For many farmers in the Red River Valley, the nearest facility capable of processing their crop is over 100 miles (160km) away. Without nearby processing, [the region’s] soyabeans are regularly among the lowest-priced in the country, farmers pay higher transportation costs for their crop and are limited in the markets they are able to reach,” the company said on its website.

“Our planned crush plant in Grand Forks is projected to strengthen the basis for soyabeans by 20-25 cents/bushel and process up to 42M bushels/year.”

The plant was expected to produce more than 940,000 tonnes/year of soyabean meal, 60M gallons/year (227M litres) of crude degummed soyabean oil and 84,000 tonnes/year of soyabean hulls.

“As a producer of several raw soyabean products, Epitome’s soyabean processing plant will serve rising demand for renewable diesel fuel, biodiesel fuel, soyabean oil, meal and livestock feed,” the company said on its website.

Designed and engineered by US green energy developer Fagen and processing equipment designed and built by oilseed extraction technology company Crown Iron Works, the plant was due to become operational in late 2025.