Glacial Lake Energy hosts grand opening

By Bryan Sims | September 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted Sept. 11, 2008 at 2:02 p.m. CST

Watertown, S.D.-based Glacial Lakes Energy LLC held a grand opening ceremony for its 110 MMgy ethanol plant in Mina, S.D., on Sept. 4. The plant officially commenced operations in mid-June.

Built and designed by Fagen Inc. and ICM Inc., the Mina plant is the second Glacial Lakes Energy facility to come on line. It also has an operating 100 MMgy plant in Watertown, S.D.

The opening was bittersweet for the company - a small mechanical error caused some corn to combust near an operating electric motor just four days before the grand opening event. According to President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Branahan, no damage was done.

"It was just a smoldering of some corn that got around the hot motor," he said. "There were no visible flames at all. We just brushed the corn back away from the motor and we were fine."

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, who also attended the plant's groundbreaking in September 2006, took time out of his busy schedule to attend the grand opening ceremony in lieu of the Republic National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Branahan said.

"I think that shows the dedication our governor has for us," he said.

With approximately 1 billion gallons of annual production, South Dakota is the leading ethanol producer per capita in the nation and fourth largest in the country.

"It was a wonderful event," Branahan said. "We did tours and about 500 people showed up for the event. It was very well done."