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Illinois corn growers host ethanol factory construction clinic
By TIM ALEXANDER
Illinois Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — With last week's announcement of the construction of a new $85 million ethanol plant in Princeton, Ill., agriculture leaders believe they are one step closer to challenging Iowa and Nebraska as a leader in ethanol production.

Expected to be completed in 12-14 months, the plant would provide 40 full-time jobs and bring more than $42 million to local farmers in corn sales to the plant.

With dozens of such facilities in development throughout the state, the Illinois Corn Growers Assoc. (ICGA), Ill. Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) joined forces Jan. 25 in Bloomington to conduct a workshop titled Building an Ethanol Plant in Illinois. Designed to educate ethanol production companies, farmer co-ops, financial institutions and design and building consultants on the steps involved in constructing, operating and maintaining a successful ethanol plant, the meeting was kicked off by IEPA director Doug Scott and IDOA director Chuck Hartke.

“In addition to the environmental benefits, ethanol is a key component to building an even stronger agriculture industry in Illinois,” Hartke told those in attendance. “The more ethanol we produce, the more Illinois corn we’ll need to raise for production … Ethanol continues to add value to Illinois products and add jobs to the agriculture industry.”

According to a press release, the workshop promoted “best practices” that reduce environmental releases and enhance energy efficiency in ethanol plants - education presenters feel is crucial since the 2005 approval of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard, which is expected to double ethanol production and use by 2012.

“The workshop not only affirmed the state’s commitment to encouraging the expanded use of an environmentally friendly and renewable fuel, but will help ensure that new plants are designed and built correctly from the start to be as environmentally efficient as possible,” Scott said.

To better help companies construct ethanol plants in the state, a guidebook was prepared and given to those in attendance. John Kuhfuss, ICGA president, said education is necessary in order to ensure the new businesses meet local, state and federal requirements in both construction and operation parameters.

This farm news was published in the February 1, 2006 issue of Farm World.

2/1/2006