One of the two proposed ethanol plants near Atlantic is doubling in size…and it’s still on the drawing board. “Amaizing Energy” had described a plant on the city’s northwest side that would make 50-million gallons of the alcohol fuel per year.
But this month, Amaizing Energy Board Chairman Sam Cogdill told the Cass County Board of Supervisors they’re now looking at twice that output. He says they will build a 100-million gallon per year facility. If another plant is built, however, he says they’ll retain the option to go with the original plan since organizers don’t want to set up too much demand for the local corn supply
Cogdill says the reason for the expansion boils down to economics. Cogdill says a 100-million gallon plant can pay 18-cents per bushel more for corn, and still have the same level of return, percentage-wise. He says it won‘t take that many more employees to run a larger plant, and they will save money taking the leap now, rather than expanding operations in two or three years.
Cogdill it’s just more efficient to build the larger version right away, as it won’t take much longer to use the same crews to do the larger job. He says they can be hard to line up, and if they decide after a couple of years to expand to 100-Million gallon capacity they’ll be on a waiting list to get those contractors back. Cogdill says they‘ve selected a final site for the plant, the surveys have been completed and applications for the various necessary permits are being acquired. The site purchase is expected to be finalized late this summer or early fall, so that the “dirt work” can begin.
The company plans to begin an equity drive in September. Plant officials say they expected to begin producing ethanol in late 2008. Amaizing Energy’s competitor — Green Plains Renewable Energy — recently ran into local opposition by landowners while trying to get their desired site rezoned from Agricultural to Light Industrial, but the Cass County zoning board gave a cautionary nod of approval.
They advised the Board of Supervisors not to give final approval to the rezoning, until all the necessary impact studies have been completed.