LiquidMaize delays Colorado plant construction

By Suzanne Schmidt | July 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 4, 2008 at 10:25 a.m. CST

Due to recent developments in the ethanol industry, Denver-based LiquidMaize LLC has announced that it's delaying construction of a proposed 11 MMgy ethanol plant in Lamar, Colo., until financial conditions improve.

The company sites recent developments in the U.S. ethanol industry and the related unfavorable economics for the delay and said the increasing political debate between food versus fuel, and the unprecedented high corn prices have caused Wall Street and other investors to move more cautiously with ethanol industry investments.

On March 15, LiquidMaize broke ground on the plant, which is colocated with the Four States Feeders feedyard north of Lamar, Colo.

"LiquidMaize is strongly committed to the development of renewable fuels in support of our nation's move away from dependence on foreign oil," said Trevor Morgan, ethanol project director for LiquidMaize. "We believe ethanol will ultimately provide a source of fuel for consumers that are more economical and better for the environment. Although the ethanol industry is experiencing difficulties in connection with the current state of financial markets, we are looking at the long-term picture, and we are eager to build our first plant and help prove the advantages of ethanol."

ICM Inc. is removing equipment from the site to prevent damage to machinery. LiquidMaize said it intends to re-engage ICM for replacement of fully-warranted equipment as soon as construction is feasible.

LiquidMaize said permits pertaining to the plant remain valid. According to a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which includes the Water Quality Control Division, a stormwater construction activity permit was issued on May 1, 2007 to Lamar Ethanol LLC, also known as LiquidMaize. To date, the Water Quality Control Division has not received an application for a process water discharge permit.

LiquidMaize, in partnership with Colorado State University and the Colorado Agriculture Commission, is examining the potential to use sorghum, millet, and alfalfa hay as part of its local feedstock initiative.

LiquidMaize said its short-haul business model, which produces ethanol and wet distillers grain for delivery to local gasoline terminals and neighboring feed yards, remains extremely attractive to investors who are struggling with multiple challenges facing the ethanol industry.