Plans on Hold for Northwest Ohio Ethanol Facility

Thu February 15, 2007 - Midwest Edition

DEFIANCE, Ohio (AP) Plans for an ethanol plant in Defiance County in northwest Ohio are on hold, local officials said.

The company proposing the plant, New Energy Corporation Inc. of South Bend, Ind., said there were several reasons for the delay, according to Jerry Hayes, executive director of Economic Development of Defiance County.

One was the high cost of materials to build the plant, Hayes said.

Another concern was that the price of corn, used to make the gas additive, has gone up and the price of gas has stabilized, he said. “In effect, profit margin is shrinking,” he said.

A year ago, it was expected that construction would begin this past summer. The plant was expected to make 150 million gal. of ethanol each year.

“Everything is at a stand still,” New Energy President Nathan Kimpel said.

Defiance County officials said they will continue to work to attract an ethanol plant to the county. Hayes said they have contacted other ethanol makers about potential sites.

Ohio has at least six ethanol plants in the works.

Ethanol production is expected to double nationwide as new plants are being built, from approximately 5 billion gal. (18 billion L) now to 11 billion gal. (41 billion L), according to industry estimates.