Group Proposes Two KS Ethanol Plants

Sat January 28, 2006 - Midwest Edition

GARDEN CITY, KS (AP) An investment group is considering building two ethanol plants in southwest Kansas.

Conestoga Energy Partners already was considering two potential locations for a Seward County plant.

Now, the group is considering another facility approximately 60 mi. to the north, just outside Garden City in Finney County.

The proposed site for the Finney County plant is adjacent to WindRiver Grain, a grain elevator east of U.S. 83 on U.S. 50.

“They felt that would provide some synergies,” said Ed Stahl, a consultant with BBI International in Golden, CO, who has advised the Seward County-based group.

Stahl has said the region is attractive for ethanol plants because the abundance of cattle makes a ready market for distillers grain, a feed that is one of the byproducts of ethanol production.

Ethanol is made from corn or sorghum. With cattle close, the distillers grain can be shipped to buyers wet, saving on the substantial cost of drying it.

When ethanol producers have to ship distillers grain long distances, they must dry it first so it won’t spoil.

Stahl said the plan called for both the Seward County and Finney County plants to be able to produce 50 million to 55 million gal. of ethanol per year.

If enough investors are lined up, construction could begin sometime this year on one of the plants.

“We can’t pin [a date] down,” Stahl said. “We need to raise some money first.”

Dennis Smith, chairman of the Finney County Economic Development Corp., said the group agreed to put up $7,500 to help pay for a feasibility study for the project.

Another $7,500 will be sought from the Kansas Department of Commerce.