Guardian Energy Holdings invests in Ohio plant

By Holly Jessen | November 15, 2010
Posted Nov. 22, 2010

Guardian Energy Holdings LLC has acquired a majority state in a 54 MMgy ethanol plant in Lima, Ohio. ICM Inc. will retrofit and upgrade the plant, which has been standing idle since November 2008. Construction has already begun and the facility is expected to be operating again by the second quarter of 2011. "Everyone is excited about it," said Don Gales, CEO of Guardian Energy. "We like the geography and when ICM gets done rebuilding the plant we will have a very durable and cost-effective plant."

The plant, formerly Greater Ohio Ethanol, was wholly owned by Paladin Ethanol Acquisition LLC. Paladin secured a 40 percent, five-year tax credit this fall, and in exchange, committed to operating the plant continuously for eight years and creating 22 full-time jobs. However, Guardian Energy Holdings isn't saying if that tax credit will carry over to the new owners. "We aren't disclosing any terms of the transaction," Gales told EPM.

The plant will operate under the name Guardian Lima LLC. It will be managed by Guardian Energy Holdings and have Renewable Products Marketing Group as its ethanol and distillers grain marketing partner. Guardian Energy Holdings founded RPMG in 1996.

In all, 31 full-time employees will be hired to operate the plant. An additional 60 construction jobs will be created during the retrofit. "ICM is thrilled to work with Guardian Energy Holdings LLC, to conduct a retrofit of the Lima facility and improve operating efficiencies," Dave Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM. "We are proud to support Guardian's efforts in strengthening the local economy and creating U.S. jobs that can never be outsourced. We look forward to getting this facility up and running so that ethanol production can begin again as well as bring economic benefits to Lima and northwestern Ohio."

Guardian Energy Holdings is a joint venture between Chippewa Valley Ethanol Com. LLLP of Benson, Minn.; Heartland Corn Products of Winthrop, Minn.; and KAAPA Ethanol LLC of Minden, Neb. These companies are locally and farmer-owned. In addition, Al-Corn Clean Fuel Cooperative of Claremont, Minn.; Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-op of Little Falls, Minn., and Golden Grain LLC of Mason City, Iowa, are invested in a 100 MMgy year ethanol plant in Janesville, Minn., which is owned and operated by Guardian Energy LLC.

The ethanol producers invested in Guardian Energy Holdings are very happy with the newest acquisition in Lima, Gales said, adding that the company is definitely in the market for similar deals.