Indiana ethanol plant resumes operations

By Erin Voegele | December 15, 2014

Noble Americas South Bend Ethanol LLC is restarting operations at its 100 MMgy ethanol plant in South Bend, Indiana. Chris Fielding, assistant executive director of community investment for the city of South Bend, said the facility is currently undergoing testing activities and is expected to be producing ethanol by mid-December.

The former New Energy Corp. facility was purchased at a bankruptcy auction in 2013 and was acquired by a subsidiary of Noble Americas Corp. in mid-2013. The ethanol plant first began operations in late 1984, but was idled in late 2012. In November 2012, New Energy Corp. filed for bankruptcy. Retrofit activities, led by ICM Inc., kicked off at the facility in late 2013.

Earlier this year, Ethanol Producer Magazine, reported that owners of the facility were working on a plan to add corn oil production capabilities. Noble Americas in negotiating a deal with the city of South Bend. Under the agreement, the city would purchase the $2 million corn oil extraction equipment and lease it to the ethanol plant for no less than $100,000 per year for five years. Fielding said that agreement is currently in the process. “We’ve assembled the bid specifications for the equipment, it has been released by our board of public works, they did receive a bid and we’ve been negotiating that bid and we expect to have that wrapped up sometime in the next two three weeks,” he said.

Fielding also indicated the city of South Bend is excited that operations are resuming at the ethanol plant. “The ethanol plant is a major tax payer in the area, they are also a huge user of our waste water system, which certainly drives funding for the board of public works. But, more importantly than that, they committed to creating 50 jobs, last we knew they were actually at 65 jobs, and those are family-sustaining wages,” he said, noting that the local farming community is also excited the plant is coming back online.