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Alchem plant taken apart, pieces sold

GRAFTON, N.D. -- The former Alchem Ltd. ethanol plant Grafton, N.D., has been disassembled and sold for as components in the past several months, according to Agweek sources.

Alchem
The east-facing side of the former Alchem Ltd. plant at Grafton, N.D., has been dissembled and some of the equipment hauled away through the winter. Johnson Oil Co. of Hallock, N.D., declines to confirm that it is buying some of the equipment. Owner Rick Newman didn't immediately return messages to comment about his plans for the office and other structures. Photo taken April 16, 2013. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)

GRAFTON, N.D. -- The former Alchem Ltd. ethanol plant Grafton, N.D., has been disassembled and sold for as components in the past several months, according to Agweek sources.

The plant had been built as a potato processing plant in the 1960s. Jamestown, N.D., businessman Harold Newman had owned it and run it as Alchem Ltd. until 2007 when it was idled.

Newman used the down time to improve it, but in 2010, it was sold at auction to Borchart Steel of New Germany, Minn. It was quickly resold to Northeast Energy, with Newman's nephew, Rick Newman of Mayville, N.D., listed as the registered agent.

Rick Newman didn't immediately respond to a call from Agweek. Todd Johnson, vice president of Johnson Oil Co., in Hallock, Minn., declined to comment on a report that his company was buying some of the equipment.

Darrell Duane Smith of Forest City, Iowa, on March 23, 2012, told farmers in Grafton, N.D., about plans by Energae LP to convert the former Alchem plant into a sugar beet ethanol facility, and about how farmers could invest in Energae, a company that owned majority interest in BFC Electric LLC, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which later became part of Permeate Refining LLC, a Hopkinton, Iowa, electricity generator.

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Smith told Grafton-area farmers he was seeking 12,000 acres of beet production and said farmers would need to commit a $10,000 minimum -- $500 per acre on a minimum of 20 acres -- to participate. Smith said Energae would put up to $6 million into the plant, including a $1 million roof, and would pay farmers $50 a ton for beets.

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