SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota corn ethanol plant will soon be making the transition to producing a fuel additive with a wider variety of uses.

Redfield Energy CEO Tom Hitchcock says the 50 million gallon per year plant is teaming with Colorado-based Gevo to convert the facility in Redfield to a 40 million gallon per year butanol plant.

Gevo is also retrofitting a plant it owns in Luverne, Minn.

Butanol has traditionally been used as paint thinner, cleaner and adhesive, but as a fuel additive it contains more energy than ethanol and could be blended into existing cars at higher percentages.

The Redfield plant is a co-op owned by 650 members.

Hitchcock says Gevo is paying for the retrofit in exchange for an equity interest in the partnership.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. Hank Rearden says:

    Corn is $6-7.00 per bu, land is $8000-10000 per acre. Farmers are rich. The government has mandated 15% ethanol in gas.

    1. fitswell says:

      and you sir are NUTS

  2. Farmer's Daughter says:

    Farmers are not rich, most are one minor medical emergency away from bankruptcy. Land is not 8 -10 thousand dollars an acre, it’s closer to $6,000. Also, they have a lot of input costs. How would you like to run a business that is completely reliant on the weather, requires at least 2 machines that combined are worth over $500,000 and that doesn’t count the planter, corn/bean heads and anything else needed to work the land. The seed costs alone can run well over $100,000 per year. Also, there’s no medical, life or disability insurance provided by any employee, you have to pay 100% of those costs. It’s not an easy way to make a lot of money, but if you can plan correctly you can provide for your family.

    1. Risky Business says:

      Just think of what could happen if corn prices drop $1-2/bushel. These farmers are being forced to pay big equipment, seed, land, facility, insurance, drying, etc costs and they have no idea if they will see $6.36 ( per bushel or not. just going down to $6/bushel would cost a farmer about $55/acre if they were getting 150 bushels to the acre. If they have 1,000 acres in corn that would be a $55,000 hit that they general can’t afford to take. Remember that farming is a business with assets and liabilities, most of which are not very liquid and can’t be considered as a financial indicator of a family’s well-being. Net farm income in Minnesota in 2009 was about $33,000. Farmers are not rich, they are some of the most couragous business investors out there sticking their neck out every year to help feed, clothe, and fuel the world. Hats off to you farmers!

      1. Risky Business says:

        *that they generally can’t afford…” I forget that everyone reading this automatically becomes an English major.

  3. Ordinary Guy says:

    The University of Minnesota has been working hard to make the switch from ethanol, with a low energy gain and a high cost input, to cellulose-based fuels and others. Soils marginal for corn, are quite suitable for plants at the Cedar Creek Natural History site that can be grown without irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, tilling, re-seeding, because they are NATIVE plants. Three cheers for our state investment.

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