Zeeland purchases site of partially completed ethanol plant

By Susanne Retka Schill | April 16, 2014

Michigan-based Zeeland Farm Services Inc. has purchased 435 acres and the partially built ethanol facility at Ithaca, Mich., through its affiliate, ZFS Ithaca LLC.  The developer of the project, Liberty Renewable Fuels LLC, halted construction on the planned 110 MMgy plant in mid-2008.

Beth Westemeyer, Zeeland’s marketing manager, said the site has part of the rail line installed plus five or six grain bins that are partially completed along with a partially finished office building. Much of the land is under cultivation. The company will finish the structures that were begun and adapt the site to new uses. “We are looking at all options,” she said “Some of the options include a grain elevator, a feed ingredient transloading facility or a soy processing plant, and there is potential for some day completing an ethanol processing facility,” Westemeyer said.

All are sectors where the company and its affiliates now have a presence. Zeeland owns two operating ethanol plants. Nebraska Corn Processing LLC, a 50 MMgy plant in Cambridge, Neb., was purchased in 2010, Pennsylvania Corn Processing LLC, a 110 MMgy plant in Clearfield, Pa., was purchased in 2012. 

Westemeyer added that the company recently began selling ethanol and biodiesel blends. “We’ve been looking at new ways to get product to the consumer at fair prices,” she said. In December, an affiliate opened a fuel station near the Nebraska ethanol plant that sells E10, E15, E30 and E85, along with four blends of biodiesel. And last month, Zeeland Farm Services in Michigan began selling E85 directly to consumers. The response from consumers has been positive, she reports. “When they get fair pricing, we get repeat customers.”

The company has long used B20 in its own fleet of trucks and company vehicles.