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Published August 09, 2013, 02:30 PM

Groundbreaking held for ND ethanol plant

Officials broke ground Aug. 9 in Spiritwood, N.D., for the first grain-based ethanol plant to be built in the U.S. since 2007.

By: Forum News Service ,

SPIRITWOOD, N.D. — Officials broke ground Aug. 9 in Spiritwood, N.D., for the first grain-based ethanol plant to be built in the U.S. since 2007.

The $150 million Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant will produce up to 65 million gallons of ethanol each year from about 23 million bushels of corn when it’s operational in 2015.

Speaking at the event were Gov. Jack Dalrymple and North Dakota’s congressional delegation.

“It is a great visionary project,” Dalrymple said. “A great investment for the state of North Dakota.”

The ethanol plant is being built by Great River Energy, which owns the Spiritwood Station coal-fired generating plant at the same location. The plant is now idle, but will become operational in January 2015 to produce steam for the ethanol plant, as well as electricity.

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy will employ up to 250 people during construction and about 36 during operations.

A $1.4 billion CHS Inc. fertilizer plant also is planned for the location, dubbed Spiritwood Energy Park, with construction to start in 2014.

The CHS plant is a much larger project than the ethanol plant. Once completed, CHS would provide 150 full-time jobs. It will take 80,000 million metric British thermal units (MMBtus) per day of natural gas and produce 2,200 tons per day of various kinds of ammonia, which will make several products including anhydrous ammonia and urea.

North Dakota has become somewhat of a fertilizer production hot spot. Northern Plains Nitrogen also hopes to build a $1.5 billion facility near the city of Grand Forks. Both plants would use flared gas from oil production in western North Dakota.

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