enewable Energy Group, Inc.leaders celebrated the beginning Friday of an expansion and upgrade of the laboratory at the company’s Ames, Iowa headquarters to further enhance renewable chemical related biotechnology research, development and commercialization.

The lab expansion will include the installation of fermentation equipment and significant analytical capabilities. Upon completion, full-time positions will be added to focus on commercialization and integration of products to be developed by REG in South San Francisco into production and delivery platforms.

“This expansion is simply one of many examples of REG’s commitment to innovation and economic development in Iowa and in particular Ames which is a cornerstone of Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor,” said REG President and CEO Daniel Oh. “These upgrades will allow us to increase our midwestern focus on product development for renewable chemicals.”

Local and state business and community leaders joined REG employees for the groundbreaking ceremony and say the benefits from projects like this reach far and wide.

“Technology investments like expanding lab capabilities in the Ames community enhance Iowa State University’s ability to market the community and place our students in their chosen field,” said Dr. Steven Leath, Iowa State University President. “Retention of top talent is vital in economic development and Iowa as a global leader in agbioscience, biorenewables, biotech and advanced manufacturing industries.”

“The Iowa Economic Development Authority is dedicated to cultivating innovation and economic growth in our state of Iowa,” said IEDA Director Debi Durham. “REG’s commitment and investment in Ames shows Iowa is primed for a new era in biotechnology, focused on using agricultural feedstocks to make high value products.”

Oh said legislation expected to be signed soon Governor Terry Branstad and approved by the Iowa legislature this week, which will provide tax credits for the renewable chemical industry, should provide extra momentum for REG’s investment in the field. “The state’s efforts to promote and grow renewable chemicals are a natural extension of the state’s support of agriculture and renewable fuels. This bill shows commitment and purpose and demonstrates that the investment is desired here in Iowa, and we are thankful for the support of our elected officials in getting it done. ”