BEATRICE, NE — There’s new life coming to an idle biofuel plant in Beatrice.

Marathon Petroleum celebrated its purchase of the facility at an event Monday afternoon. The company announced that it purchased the facility from Duonix Beatrice for $11.7 million in July. It had been sitting idle for months.

Marathon Senior Vice President of Marketing Brian Partee says Tennessee-based Eco-Energy will operate the facility and lead the refurbishing process.

“We’re equally pleased to be working not only in the great state of Nebraska, but with the state leaders to add jobs and include this state and community in the work we’re doing to transform agricultural feedstocks into clean energy,” Partee said.

Eco-Energy plans to hire 20 workers for the plant by the end of the year. It expects to start operations at the facility in early 2021.

Beatrice Mayor Stan Wirth says they will be good-paying jobs and will boost the local economy.

“Anytime we reach above median income, I think that’s a big positive for our community," Wirth said. "You’re going to see new purchases, new cars, new houses and I think that’s what’s really important for the lifeblood of any community.”

Marathon also announced $5,000 donations to both the Beatrice Police Department and Beatrice Fire and Rescue. Eco-Energy also pledged a $5,000 donation.

“We’re really pleased that they’re thinking of being a partner in our community because we want to be a partner with them,” Wirth said.

The plant will accept and pretreat corn oil, soybean oil and rendered fats for transport to Marathon’s Dickinson, ND refinery.

The fire department plans to use the donation to buy emergency extraction saws. The police department will use the funds to add security cameras to its facilities.