Full ownership of Blue Flint Ethanol passes to Great River Energy

By Holly Jessen | January 06, 2012

Headwaters Ethanol Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of Headwaters Inc., announced Jan. 4 that it had sold its 51 percent ownership of Blue Flint Ethanol LLC. The buyer is Great River Energy, which now has full ownership of the 60 MMgy Underwood, N.D., ethanol plant.

Jeff Zueger, general manager of Blue Flint Ethanol, said the plant’s employees—all of which remain working for the company—are excited about their future. “Both Great River Energy and Headwaters have been outstanding owners and supporters of Blue Flint Ethanol,” he told EPM. “We anticipate continued success as a wholly owned subsidiary of Great River Energy.”

Headwaters, which works in coal combustion products, building products and energy businesses, received about $18.5 million in cash for the sale. The ethanol plant will continue to operate as a wholly-owned independent subsidiary of Great River Energy, a not-for-profit electric cooperative owned by its 28 member cooperatives. “We were pleased to have worked with Great River Energy over the past five years in building and operating an exemplary biorefinery,” said Donald Newman, Headwaters' chief financial officer. “They have been an excellent partner for us.”

The ethanol plant, which started up in 2007, was a joint venture between Great River Energy and Headwaters. The ethanol plant does not operate its own boiler for process steam because it purchases process steam from the adjacent Great River Energy Coal Creek Station, a coal-fired power plant.