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Posted on  

December 19, 2002

Plans for Another Iowa Ethanol Plant Announced

Interest in farmer-owned ethanol plants continues to grow in Iowa. Golden Grain Energy, a group of farmers who want to build an ethanol production plant in north central Iowa, has announced plans to break ground this coming spring. The group has formed a cooperative and will hold an equity drive this winter to raise money for the project, by signing up fellow farmer-investors.

That information comes from Dan Culhane, executive director of the Mason City Economic Development Corp. at Mason City, Iowa. He says Fagen, Inc., a firm headquartered in Granite Falls, Minn., has acquired 60 acres south of Mason City on which to build the plant. Fagen specializes in ethanol plant construction.

The plant is expected to use 15 million bushels of corn per year to produce about 40 million gallons of the corn-based fuel additive. That would make it one of the largest farmer-owned ethanol plants in Iowa, says Culhane.

According to Lucy Norton, marketing specialist with the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, Iowa currently has eight ethanol plants in operation in the state. Five of them are farmer-owned.

Five of Iowa's eight plants are farmer-owned

The largest farmer-owned facility in the state is the new plant at Lakota in north central Iowa, which opened last month. The Midwest Grain Processors plant at Lakota has an annual production capacity of 45 million gallons.

More ethanol production facilities are planned for the future. There are two such plants currently under construction. One is located near Marcus in northwest Iowa and one near West Burlington in southeast Iowa. Three other plants are still in the planning stages. They are proposed to be built near Earlville in northeast Iowa, Steamboat Rock in central Iowa and Denison in western Iowa.

Interest in investing in farmer-owned ethanol manufacturing facilities continues to run strong among corn producers, notes Norton. She notes that U.S. production of ethanol continues to rise each month as states that consume a lot of motor fuel - such as California and New York - phase out their use of MTBE and replace it with ethanol. MTBE is a petroleum-based gasoline additive that causes water pollution and is suspected of causing cancer in humans.

When Congress returns to session in 2003, proposed renewable energy legislation will hopefully be passed and signed into law, says Norton. Thatís another reason to be optimistic about the future of corn-based ethanol fuel.

-Rob Swoboda
Farm Progress  

 

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