New ethanol plant opens near Merrill, IA - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

New ethanol plant opens near Merrill, IA

MERRILL, Iowa (KTIV) -- At a time when it seems like more ethanol plants are closing than opening, one northwest Iowa plant bucks the trend.

The ethanol industry has had a rather rough road in the last year with some plants going offline or just being bought out, but officials at Plymouth Energy in Merrill, IA say, that's not the case for them.

Wayne Vincent, the production manager for Plymouth Energy, says a lot of that has to do with the foresight the marketing team, management team and board of directors had, not to buy corn when other ethanol plants were buying it at a high price. Vincent also says this plant is different because of some of the unique production practices they have.

"The one great thing about this plant is we have a tendency to, in all the areas, heat and reheat a product using residual heat from somewhere else. So, it makes it really, really efficient. You know, today's markets, the more efficient you can run the better off you're going to be," said Vincent.

Plymouth Energy uses 50- to 55,000 bushels of corn a day. Their grain bin on-site holds 517,000 bushels of corn, which is enough product to get them through eight days of production. So when we asked how much corn they will take from farmers.

"As much as we can, I mean this is a great place for local farmers who may be or probably already is an investor. So, I mean, he sells his corn here, then he can receive a dividend check on that. And if he's feeding livestock he can pick his feed up here. He can drive in with a full truck and leave with a full truck if he likes," Vincent said.

Vincent also says the process Plymouth Energy uses to grind their dried distillers grain, or DDGs, is different from others. The end result is a product that is more finely ground, but it's not only the customers enjoying the end result.

"The livestock really love it. It has sugar in it, mash, protein. I guess if cows could talk they'd tell us it tastes really good," Vincent said.

However, to Vincent, the key to a successful bottom line is creating a product efficiently.

"I can't think of any more efficient use of a bushel of corn. 2.8 gallons of ethanol. Fourteen to eighteen pounds of DDG's or or approximately 33 and a half to 38 pounds of wet feed," Vincent said.

Plymouth Energy has been online since December. It currently produces about 103 gallons of ethanol per minute and has about 36 fulltime employees.

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