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Posted on  

April 18, 2003

Investors Needed to Help Start Indiana Plant

By Adam Coates

Flyer Staff Writer

RENSSELAER -- A group of farmers from this northern Indiana community have come together in an effort to plow up enough funds to build an ethanol plant near Interstate 65, just east of town.

John Bryant is the board secretary for the newly formed Iroquois Bio-Energy Company LLC, whose owners want to construct a $58 million plant, which would grind dry corn and refine it into fuel-grade ethanol for sale to fuel distributors across the region.

Bryant said the company was launched about two years ago in response to an increasing national demand for cleaner-burning fuels. The need is especially great, he said, in the area where the plant is proposed because of its proximity to Chicago and the federal pollution control mechanisms that exist there.

"MTBE (the most common and inexpensive octane booster used in fuels) is a carcinogen and it gets into the groundwater," Bryant said. "As all these states start to phase out MTBE, ethanol is the only product available to burn cleaner fuels."

While the primary product at the plant would be ethanol, Bryant explained, two of the bi-products of the process -- carbon dioxide and mashed distillers -- are also marketable in the state and nation. Carbon dioxide, he said, is used frequently for food preservation, such as the creation of dry ice, and for carbonation in soft drinks.

"We will have a dry ice factory next door to the plant," Bryant said.

Mashed distillers, which are the remains of the crushed corn, are used for livestock feed and may be sold to area farmers, he said.

Although planners have set high goals for the plant, operations there can't begin until the funding comes in, Bryant said.

"The government is providing incentives (for creating such plants)," he said. "We're trying to take advantage of those incentives to get the plant built as fast as we can."

And while federal dollars have covered a large portion of the project, Bryant says he and his partners are still required to raise $22.5 million. It is for that reason that they've decided to turn to private investors from Indiana and Illinois.

Last week, company officials held informational seminars in Indianapolis and Noblesville with about 32 people attending both sessions, Bryant said. He said that with the onset of planting season, future seminars haven't been planned yet. He said he has received investments from "several" individuals in Hendricks County.

"We're just starting to get the word out," he said.

Bryant said company officials are accepting minimum investments of $5,000. Copies of the prospectus, which is 150 pages, and additional information about the company are available by calling toll-free (877) 647-CORN or by logging onto the company's website at www.ibecethanol.com.



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