Race is on for First Pennsylvania Ethanol Plant

Sunnyside Ethanol Features State-of-the-Art Plans, Co-generation
By | September 01, 2003
In August, EPM reported that an $80 million ethanol plant in Conoy Township was to be the first ethanol plant in Pennsylvania.

That may no longer be true.

Sunnyside Ethanol LLC, which has paired with Monsanto Enviro-Chem Systems, Inc. of St. Louis, is moving forward with plans to build a 40-mmgy ethanol plant in Clearfield County, Penn. Project manager and co-founder Herb Balzuweit told EPM the company was finalizing preliminary engineering layouts, looking at environmental issues and obtaining necessary permits at the end of August. The $80 million construction project is slated to be finished in the spring of 2005, the same time the Penn-Mar Ethanol plant is hoping to open as well.

Balzuweit told EPM that competition between the two plants wouldn't be an issue.

"When you're looking at the New York market. . . . and their ban of MTBE in 2004, there will be plenty demand for ethanol," Balzuweit said. The two plants are also on opposite sides of the state.

Sunnyside Ethanol's facility will feature a state-of-the-art cogeneration plant beside it, the only combination east of the Mississippi River which would use waste coal to produce steam and electricity for the ethanol plant.

"In order to make (Sunnyside Ethanol) a viable project, we need to project steam and power at the least amount of cost," Balzuweit said. "Unless you have a power generation facility designed to burn waste coal, it is simply waste."

Waste coal produces acid when it rains, which could pollute water. Balzeweit pointed out the more waste coal converted to energy (to power the plant), the better it is for the environment.

Sunnyside Ethanol will obtain most of its corn supply from the western states, such as Indiana or Ohio, because of the lack of abundant corn sources in Pennsylvania. EP