Wabash Co. ethanol plant to open in 2008

Wabash Co. ethanol plant to open in 2008

A $170 million ethanol plant to be built in Wabash County is at least the sixth planned in the region.

The plant, about 40 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, is expected to open during the last half of 2008, public and company officials said at a news conference Monday.

”We are excited to move forward and pleased with Wabash County as a location for one of our ethanol production facilities,” said Michael A. Comparato Sr., president and CEO of Vieste LLC of Indianapolis, which also is developing a plant in Benton County, about 75 miles to the west.

The plant on Indiana 15 near La Fontaine is expected to buy about 30 million bushels of corn from area farmers to produce about 88 million gallons of ethanol a year. It is projected to provide about 45 jobs.

More than 150 U.S. ethanol plants are either under construction, planned or in operation, including 18 in Indiana. In January 2005, the state had just one working ethanol plant.

”We’re the last county in the world that doesn’t have one,” said Bill Konyha, president and CEO of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County.

Nearby Blackford, Madison, Tipton, Huntington and Delaware counties already have plants in some stage of development.

The plant at La Fontaine will be the anchor for a new 200-acre agricultural-industrial park.

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