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In November 2011 Green Plains Renewable Energy (GPRE) announced that BlendStar LLC would own and operate a new, state of the art, ethanol unit train terminal on the BNSF Railway in Birmingham, Alabama. GPRE selected Robinson Construction Company as the general contractor for the $12.2 million project.

The new terminal delivers 385,000 barrels of ethanol per month via 96-car unit trains and over the road trucks. Utilizing eight off-loading pumps, four transfer pumps, a fully-automated rail unloading system, and two above ground storage tanks with 160,000 barrels of storage, the terminal simultaneously loads and unloads rail cars while providing 24-hour truck loading from its four-lane truck load out canopy. The facility’s process and piping design was completed to allow for the future addition of biodiesel storage and delivery components.

Robinson provided several value engineering ideas during the bidding process, several of which were selected for the final design. Construction work on the project lasted 10 months with construction manpower peaking at approximately 60. Operations began at BlendStar’s new facility on December 19, 2012 with the unloading of the first unit train of ethanol. To showcase the new facility, GPRE and BlendStar hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility on February 13, 2013.

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