VeraSun Energy Corporation is breaking ground today on Iowa’s latest ethanol plant in Hartley. VeraSun Chairman and CEO Don Endres says the Hartley plant will produce about 110-Million gallons of ethanol a year. It’ll also produce about 50,000 tons of a co-product, distiller’s grain.
Endres says an oil-extraction system at the distillery will take the corn oil out of that leftover grain, and use it to make bio-diesel. VeraSun has six ethanol facilities, including Iowa plants in Fort Dodge and Charles City. Endres says this plant will be online in about one year.
Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says the project’s first impact on the economy of Hartley will be all the people hired to work on the construction of the plant. He says close to 200-Million dollars will mean a one-time "shot in the arm," but after that the plant is expected to generate employment and purchases of goods and services, including corn, will put tens of millions of dollars into the economy in the years to come.
The VeraSun biorefinery will likely employ more than 60 skilled workers. Shaw says this newest biorefinery adds to Iowa’s dominance in the renewable fuels industry. Twenty-seven plants are up and running, Shaw says, and with the Hartley plant the state will have 19 projects that are either new facilities or additions to existing bio-refineries.
VeraSun is the nation’s second-largest ethanol producer. The public groundbreaking program today on the southwest side of Hartley included a performance by Nashville recording artist and northwest Iowa native Shannon Brown.