Atlantic Biodiesel is looking to revamp an abandoned John Deere property. The expansion plan could create up to 200 new jobs. The company revealed these plans at their ceremonial first pour of high-grade fuel into a tanker rail car. The new division is an exciting new project that will be used for a green industry, “biodegradable” related operation. The company hopes to see substantial progress for these plans over the next two years.

“We’re working with the city to acquire the John Deere property,” Adam Amer, Atlantic’s head of sales and procurement, said in an interview.

While he mentioned the importance of keeping company plans secret, he alluded property owned by Deere that was located on Canal Bank St would only be utilized for the production of its own raw material supply. John Haylock, head of logistics at the Dain City plant explained Atlantic is seeking to produce raw material in a more economical way. This suggests that the new property will be used to crush its own seed for the production of oil.

According to a vacant industrial and development lands report produced by the city’s economic development office, the property is comprised of three areas of land totaling 183 acres. Using oil from food-grade canola, it is capable of producing 170 million liters of fuel per year.

The John Deere property ceased its operations in August of 2009, when the remaining equipment were removed from the site. The company had been in Welland for over a century and approximately 800 jobs were lost as a result of the facility closing.

Atlantic’s plan could create hundreds of new jobs, and having more industry would mean having a larger industrial tax base, therefore lessening the tax burden on homeowners.

Amer said the existing facility required a lot of work to meet Atlantic’s demands.

“We’ve been very clear with them that we’re open to helping them out” Mayor Frank Campion said, “If they can put the package together, we’ll do anything we can to help them out.”

The city is very supportive of the expansion plan. Welland MP Malcolm Allen hopes $65 million in federal funding will be awarded to Atlantic instead of GLB through a Natural Resource Canada ecoENERGY agreement since GLB failed to meet the deadlines required to obtain the funding.