By Matt Reese
The controversy and colorful history of the oft-discussed ethanol plant in Lima may be a thing of the past. Guardian Energy Holdings, LLC, headquartered in Janesville, Minn., purchased a majority stake in the 54-million gallon ethanol production facility and is planning on resuming controversy-free operations soon.
“We’ve been buying grain since the middle of February and we started dumping about the first week of March,” said Tyler Miller, commodity manager for Guardian Lima, LLC. “April 18 is the official opening date. We will have an open house sometime this summer once we are up and running.”
The facility originally began operations in 2008 as Greater Ohio Ethanol, but filed for bankruptcy protection later that year due to numerous operational challenges and adverse financial market conditions. The plant sat idle since November 2008 before it was re-acquired in March 2009.
“We invested about $30 million into reengineering the process deficiencies from the previous ownership. The processed water is where they ran into their issues. In our facility, we reclaim 90% of all the processed water back into the plant and recycle it,” Miller said. “To do that, we installed new evaporators and new driers for the facility to make it more efficient. The only time we’ll have any processed water, it will be discharged into the city sewer and it will be actually cleaner than when we got it from the city. We’ll create 31 to 37 jobs that will be local, and those will be permanent positions. It will also generate revenue for local farmers as far as increased marketing options.”
When operational, the plant will consume approximately 19 million bushels of corn per year to produce 54 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol and 165,000 tons of dried distillers grains (DDGs) annually.
“DDGs will be marketed through the Renewable Products Marketing Group based in Minnesota. At this point, it is all going to be dried,” Miller said. “The ethanol will be shipped by truck or rail out to the end users. We’re still working on wrapping those agreements up, but it looks like most of it will stay in Ohio.”
Guardian Energy Holdings is a joint venture between Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson, Minn., Heartland Corn Products in Winthrop, Minn., and KAAPA Ethanol, LLC in Minden, Neb. These companies are farmer- and locally owned ethanol production companies. Guardian Energy Holdings places great value in working together to secure local ownership and to retain the value created at the plant level.