Cargill subsidiary to build four large ethanol plants

By Dave Nilles | January 04, 2007
Minneapolis-based ag company Cargill Inc. announced earlier this week that a newly formed subsidiary, Emerald Renewable Energy LLC, will develop four 100 MMgy ethanol plants in the Midwest.

Several Corn Belt sites are already being considered for the projects, according to Cargill. The company already operates an 85 MMgy plant in Blair, Neb., and a 35 MMgy plant in Eddyville, Iowa.

Cargill will provide the initial development capital for the projects, as well as corn supply, natural gas, price risk management and the marketing of ethanol and distillers grains, according to a Cargill release. "Emerald Renewable Energy will have access to Cargill's world-class expertise in trading, sourcing corn, plant construction and operations, risk management and bulk commodity transportation," said Cargill Corporate Vice President Scott Portnoy.

Emerald Renewable Energy has "reached agreement with a globally recognized engineering, permitting and construction (EPC) contractor to design and construct their facilities," according to Cargill. The EPC contractor has begun engineering and permitting efforts.

To finance the debt capital for the construction of the plants, Emerald has nominated Paris-based BNP Paribas as lead arranger, and Standard Chartered and Chilean-based Santander Investment as senior co-lead arrangers.

The plant sites being considered include greenfield locations as well as collocations with Cargill grain elevators and other utility infrastructure providers. Its unclear how, if at all, this impacts plans by Denver-based BioFuel Energy LLC. The company is currently building two ethanol plants adjacent to Cargill-operated grain handling facilities. BioFuel Energy COO Dan Simon previously told Ethanol Producer Magazine that his company plans on building at least three more ethanol plants expected to be adjacent to Cargill facilities.

BioFuel Energy is building Pioneer Trail Energy LLC, a 115 MMgy plant in Wood River, Neb., and Buffalo Lake Energy, a 110 MMgy plant near Fairmont, Minn. Cargill will market the Fairmont plant's distillers grains and ethanol.

Dave Nilles is Online Editor for Ethanol Producer Magazine. Reach him at or (701) 373-0636.

Posted: 10:45 a.m. CST Wednesday, January 10, 2007