Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing Inc. owner Lou Honary is shown in front of the plant in Grundy Center. Microwave transmitters provide the energy for heat to manufacture grease and lubricant as shown on Nov. 6 at Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing Inc. in Grundy Center. Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing Inc., in Grundy Center produces grease and lubricants from soybean and other natural base oils. GRUNDY CENTER — In 2007, when a fire at the Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing plant in Plainfield damaged the facility, a search began for a new way to process grease and lubricants. University of Northern Iowa professor Lou Honary, who founded the National Agriculture-Based Lubricants Center (UNI-NABL), was an owner of ELM and began searching for alternative methods of heating oils. After proof of concept in the laboratory, Honary and his associate, Wesley James, connected with Cedar Rapids based AMTeck Microwave Technology to test commercial-scale microwave systems for heating industrial products. In 2010, ELM began manufacturing soybean oil-based grease and lubricants commercially using microwaves in a facility in Grundy Center. “There is a general misconception...