Ethanol project moves forward in Illinois

Williams ethanol marketer speaks at Pike County meeting
By | November 01, 2002
A small group of agriculture leaders in Pike County, Ill. hope to build an ethanol plant in the region.

Walker Filbert of Pittsfield has been instrumental in planning the Western Illinois Ethanol Project, an effort to build a $52 million ethanol manufacturing plant in one of three Pike County locations - Griggsville/Valley City, East Hannibal or Pleasant Hill. Others who have spearheaded the project include young farmers president Brenton Dean and Pittsfield agricultural consultant John Teuscher.

Last month, nearly 100 people attended an ethanol informational meeting at the Pike County Farm Bureau building.

"We want to see if there is enough interest among local producers for this type of venture," Filbert said. "From the excellent turnout here, I think it's obvious that we have the interest."

Filbert and other members of the WIEP want to build a plant that would produce 40 mmgy. This would require 16 million bushels of corn annually.

"Pike County produces 26 million bushels of corn annually, so we have more than enough to make it work," Filbert said, adding that producers from surrounding counties would potentially contract corn to the plant.

Jim Sneed, manager of fuel marketing from Williams Bio-Energy in Pekin, made a presentation at the meeting to share his knowledge and experience with ethanol plants. Williams Bio-Energy markets and distributes the finished product, and has contracts with 18 ethanol plants, including one in northwestern Illinois called Adkins Energy which Filbert said employs between 60 and 70 workers. He credits U.S. Representative Ray LaHood with putting WIEP officials in touch with Ron Miller, president of Williams Bio-Energy.

Sneed said although Williams Bio-Energy is not looking to build a plant in Pike County, the company may support such a venture in the future. Sneed explained that it only markets ethanol, not plant co-products which include corn meal, corn gluten feed, distillers dried grains and brewers yeast.