Midwest AgEnergy evaluates options for Blue Flint ethanol plant

By Midwest AgEnergy Group | May 11, 2020

Midwest AgEnergy Group, the parent company to ethanol biorefineries, Blue Flint, near Underwood, North Dakota and Dakota Spirit, near Spiritwood, North Dakota, announced May 8 that they are evaluating alternative thermal energy and utility options to ensure the long-term viability of the Blue Flint facility. Earlier this week, Great River Energy publicly announced the closing of their Coal Creek Station in the second half of 2022. Coal Creek provides water and steam to the Blue Flint facility. Great River Energy also announced their plans to convert their Spiritwood facility from DryFine lignite coal into natural gas. Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station provides steam and electricity to Midwest AgEnergy’s Dakota Spirit facility. 

Midwest AgEnergy CEO Jeff Zueger stated, “Midwest AgEnergy has valued the steam and utility services provided by Great River to Blue Flint and we are now evaluating best options for the repower of our Blue Flint facility to ensure its sustained operations beyond 2022. We will continue to value the steam and electrical services provided by Great River to the Dakota Spirit facility, optimizing the highly efficient combined heat and power relationship at the site as they convert that facility to natural gas.”

Midwest AgEnergy is taking the following actions to ensure long-term operations at the Blue Flint facility:

    •Assessing the most viable alternative source for water and process heat while preserving the low carbon fuel designation that facility has developed

    •Evaluating options for using the contract termination payment from Great River Energy to reinvest in economical alternative sources of power and water at the Blue Flint facility

·Continuing with the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) project at Blue Flint. CCS will prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere and safely store it underground in a geological formation and will decrease the carbon intensity of ethanol fuel produced at the facility 

    •Continuing to utilize the steam and water services provided by Coal Creek through its scheduled operations into the second half of 2022 and implement changes to allow operations well beyond 2022

    •Provide value to the communities through high paying jobs, competitive markets for corn, and supporting the local communities through our business and community activities


Midwest AgEnergy sees little to no impact to the Dakota Spirit facility and plans on taking the following actions at their Dakota Spirit facility located at Spiritwood, North Dakota:

    •Support Great River Energy’s efforts on repowering the Spiritwood Station power plant with natural gas.

    •Continuing long-term biorefinery operations at the Dakota Spirit facility, which include continuing procurement of corn from our local farmers and providing value to the local community through our business and community actions


The changes being considered at MAG facilities will ensure that Dakota Spirit and Blue Flint have a long-term, sustainable future. These updates will ensure MAG can continue operations at our facilities and provide employment for our staff while purchasing and processing corn from local farmers.