Illinois Plant Aims for Commissioning

By Staff | September 23, 2013

A Benton, Ill.-based ethanol plant that was built in 2008, but never reached full production, will finally be operational this fall. The 7 MMgy Mano Metate Grain & Energy Commodities Plant, formally Ag Energy Resources, began operations several years ago, but never reached full production.

The economic situation of 2008 hit the plant hard and the company never really recovered, said Steve Vardell, project engineer and project manager. He also served as the plant’s designer for the original owner. 

While the plant was capable of running in 2008, the former owner couldn’t get funding to operate it. As a result, the facility was ultimately shut down in 2010. 

A skeleton crew was onsite cleaning up the plant in August, upgrading the grain handling system and replacing some equipment damaged by a freeze during the plant’s idle period. 

The facility utilizes a front-end fractionation technology featuring a total milling system from Agrex. The ethanol plant will process corn starch into ethanol, while other fractionated corn products, such as corn grit or corn bran flakes, can potentially be sold for human consumption. In addition to corn, the facility may also process sweet sorghum.