The state’s newest ethanol plant is being planned for Nevada, in central Iowa. Bill Couser had been a board member of the “Heart of Iowa Co-op” for years before he became president of Lincolnway Energy. He says when local people heard in November that an outside company planned to propose an ethanol plant for the area around Nevada, they got together to come up with their own plan, to protect “Heart of Iowa” equity in the local market. Couser says though the state has a couple dozen ethanol plants, but they’re no closer than Mason City, Iowa Falls, Cherokee and Denison. He figures the plant will use about 18.5 Million bushels of corn a year, most of it bought from farmers in Story County who now produce 24-Millioon bushels a year. He expects the plant to employ up to 40. Not only will those jobs pay good wages, Couser contends there’ll be a “ripple-doen” effect from the plant’s creation. Couser says estimated indicate the plant will add about $2.5 Million to local communities, and it’ll affect or employ as many as 694 other people, saying it’s like “how you throw a stone in a pond and it ripples out.” The planners have also signed a letter of intent with a company that deals in purified gases, to become one of only three plants in the Midwest to sell the carbon dioxide produced by the operation of plant. Couser says the planners have come up with another unique plan for operation. Coal will be the energy source that fires the boilers, as he says that lets operators lock in their energy cost at 70-percent less than what natural gas would cost. With the Union Pacific railroad tracks going right through Nevada and Highway 30 linking it to main shipping routes, Couser calls the location “perfect.” Right now Lincolnway Energy is in its equity drive, holding daily meetings in towns around the central part of the state to present the plan to local investors. For the latest, surf to http://www.lincolnwayenergy.com/. There’s a meeting tonight at Gateway Center in Ames, tomorrow they hold meetings in Gilman, Baxter and Newton, and Friday in Elkhart. The current round of meetings will continue through mid-September.
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