New Jersey project gains state support, examines sites

By | September 01, 2002
Investors in New Jersey are talking about building a 40 mmgy ethanol plant in either Gloucester or Salem County. The plant would be the first of its kind on the East Coast, and would use both corn and sorghum as feedstocks for production. Memphis, Tenn.-based Lurgi PSI is still slated to design and build the plant.

Garden State Ethanol Inc., a group of 12 farmers and agribusiness professionals, is planning the plant in South Jersey. Eight of the 12 farmers are from New Jersey, two from Pennsylvania, and one each from Delaware and Maryland. The group has been working on the project for several years and received a key vote of confidence in late August when New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey announced his support for the $60 million project.

"I am committed to providing New Jersey's farmers with new opportunities to be profitable and this ethanol facility is the key to providing a major new market for our grain growers," said McGreevey. "As we move forward with this important project, we will work closely with Garden State Ethanol in a true public/private partnership," he added.

New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Charles Kuperus will be responsible for coordinating the state's effort to help identify funding assistance for the $60 million project. "As we look to strengthen New Jersey's agricultural industry, we are developing innovative strategies to encourage economic expansion in every sector of the industry," said Kuperus.

If built, investors say, the plant will be at a key advantage because of its proximity to companies that buy ethanol, namely oil refiners in southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and south Jersey.

"These things have gone up where there's a proliferation of corn," said Ed Stahl, the company's project coordinator. "The other side of that coin is to put the plant where the end users are."

New Jersey produces two-thirds of the bushels the plant would need per year. Some corn likely would be imported from Pennsylvania and other neighboring states, Stahl said.