Small ethanol plants battle for edge
BUFFALO LAKE, MINN. – On a cold winter day, white mist swirls above the smallest ethanol plant in Minnesota — a sign that it’s back in business.
Built two decades ago at the dawn of Minnesota’s ethanol industry, the plant in the past four years has been idled, mothballed and restarted — only to be shut down again as it stumbled through U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Now, a new owner has it running once more, and is confronting a core problem facing small plants in an era of larger, efficient ethanol producers. “The economics don’t work,” said Joe Winckler, an ethanol industry veteran who manages Buffalo Lake Advanced Biofuels.
It’s a persistent challenge in the industry. Most vintage ethanol plants, including Buffalo Lake, expanded over the years, but that isn’t always enough to stay competitiv
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Submitted Mar 01, 2015 By: