In 1906, Henry OBrian opened a grain elevator in Owensboro to serve local farmers selling corn and wheat. By the 1950s, the company known as Owensboro Grain was focusing its business on soybeans, milling the product, and processing the oil. Now, 101 years after its founding, fourth generation company head John Wright is taking the company in a new direction: fuel. Using support from the state and federal governments, Owensboro Grain is opening a 50 million gallon a year soybean bio-diesel refinery along the Ohio River. The company hopes to take advantage of emerging markets for the renewable fuel, and a growing sentiment in both government and the American populous in favor of energy independence from the Middle East. "Americans want to free themselves," said John Wright, "to be independent, I think theyre for renewable fuels." Bio-diesel isnt just renewable, its cleaner than petroleum based diesel. It produces fewer particulate emissions, has no sulfur, and burns more efficiently. Markets for the fuel are still emerging, but John Wright thinks bio-diesel will be an additive in most of the petroleum diesel refined in the U.S. Industry advocates say it could soon show up at pumps as B20, a blend of 20% bio-diesel and 80% petroleum diesel. The opening of Owensboro Grains new plant may be just the beginning of a trend in Kentucky. In a measure passed during a summer special session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the state has laid out incentives and supports for alternative fuel production. That includes more bio-diesel refineries and also support for a massive coal to gas refinery in the western part of the state. "Kentucky has an opportunity to be a leader in energy with this bill," Governor Ernie Fletcher said.