Richardton ethanol plant gets started

Richardton ethanol plant gets started

An ethanol plant here is finally up and running.

The Red Trail Energy LLC plant began grinding corn Tuesday to start making ethanol, chief executive officer Mick Miller said.

“We are up and running, the plant is online,” Miller said. “We will stay running and start up more and more of the plant as we go.

“The combustors and boiler are online and making steam, we are grinding corn and going through the cook process and filling fermentation,” he said.

Miller expects the plant to be selling ethanol after the first of the year.

“Everything should be worked out (by then),” Miller said. “We are doing a lot of quality control tests.”

An official grand opening likely will be scheduled when the weather is warmer, possibly in May, Miller said.

The Red Trail plant uses natural gas to heat coal, which is trucked in from a mine near Center, and begin the process of making ethanol.

Miller said earlier startup dates of Nov. 15 and Dec. 7 were pushed back to make sure the plant was ready. It is expected to produce about 145,000 gallons of ethanol a day, using 50,000 bushels of corn and 375 tons of coal.

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