River/Gulf Energy proposes ethanol plant

By EPM Associate Editor Jessica Williams | May 01, 2006
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River/Gulf Energy announced May 15 its intent to build an ethanol plant in Buffalo, Iowa, southwest of the Quad Cities on the Mississippi River. The Quad Cities consist of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois, an area that holds approximately 360,000 people total.

Plans call for a two-phase 100 MMgy facility to be built on a 100-acre industrial site, where a PCS fertilizer plant closed several years ago. Phase I, scheduled to start in the second half of 2006, includes a 50 MMgy plant with a barge dock to ship ethanol by river. According to Manager Rich Goldstein, the company plans to knock down most, if not all, of the existing fertilizer plant buildings but still utilize the on-site electricity, natural gas and rail.

After the plant is on line about 15 months later, phase II will expand the facility to 100 MMgy. "Approximately 35 to 45 people are expected to be hired for Phase I production," Goldstein said. "The plant expects to process more than 18 million bushels of corn per year in phase I."

Delta-T Corp. of Williamsburg, Va., will provide the process technology, and Agra Industries of Merrill, Wis., will build the plant, which has a price tag of more than $100 million and will provide approximately 100 local construction jobs.

River/Gulf Energy is associated with River/Gulf Grain Company, a Quad Cities-based grain merchandiser and river terminal operator, as well as Alter Barge Line, a barge operator on the Mississippi River.

"We chose the river location because waterborne transportation has always been the key to the efficient shipment of bulk products," Goldstein said. Distillers dried grains will also be shipped by barge.