Ricketts cuts ribbon on Prairie Catalytic facility in Nebraska

By Office of Gov. Pete Ricketts | September 06, 2018

On Sept. 5, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts attended a ribbon cutting in Columbus to celebrate the grand opening of Nebraska-based Prairie Catalytic LLC’s new $50 million biobased ethyl acetate production facility.  Prairie Catalytic, a subsidiary of Greenyug LLC, is a leading manufacturer of renewable chemicals. The new facility will produce ethyl-acetate—a chemical found in dozens of common household products—by way of a proprietary manufacturing process that utilizes ethanol produced from Nebraska corn. 

“Value-added agriculture is one of the best ways we can grow Nebraska,” Ricketts said. “We are not only the nation’s third-largest corn producer, but also the second-largest producer of ethanol. With this new facility, Prairie Catalytic is leveraging Nebraska’s quality ag resources, our world-class business climate, and our welcoming communities to produce an innovative product that will reshape the industry.”

Ethyl acetate is used to produce adhesives, paint, coating, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, printing inks, decaffeinate coffee and tea, and other products. In the past, the chemical was produced almost exclusively using nonrenewable fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas. Prairie Catalytic is slated to become the world’s largest manufacturer of ethyl acetate produced solely with renewable feedstock.

The facility, itself, is strategically located next to the Archer Daniels Midland Co. corn processing facility, which will supply the corn-based ethanol utilized in the production process.

“We’re very pleased to be in Columbus, which is providing an excellent location thanks to Nebraska’s plentiful feedstock, excellent logistics infrastructure, its attractiveness as a place to relocate talent, and its great workforce and extremely welcoming attitude to businesses like ours,” said Timothy Aydt, general manager of the Prairie Catalytic Columbus production site. 

At design capacity, the new facility is projected to add 20 jobs in Columbus. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development provided a $250,000 Seed Investment grant through its nonprofit partner, Invest Nebraska, to assist in the facility’s construction—supplementing the over $50 million provided to Prairie Catalytic by the USDA.

“Prairie Catalytic is a great fit for the state of Nebraska, and a great addition to the Columbus economy,” said DED Director Dave Rippe. “The Seed Commercialization grant program is about fostering the growth of innovative Nebraska-based companies, and that’s exactly what we are witnessing today. We were proud to be a part of this project, which is a tremendous investment in Nebraska.”