The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

October 26, 2007

ORLEANS COUNTY: First corn received at new ethanol plant

The $90 million Bates Road Ethanol Plant in Medina will be up and running Nov. 29, said Western New York Energy Director Mike Sawyer. The plant received its first few truckloads of corn Thursday afternoon to test run the new machinery.

The first of its kind in the Northeast, the plant will utilize 20 million bushels of corn a year — approximately one third of New York state’s total corn crop — to produce wet and dry distilled grain for livestock feed and pure ethanol for use in gasoline. It will also provide 50 new jobs.

“We feel that long term this is going to be a good business,” Sawyer said. “It will run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

The plant has the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol a year at the rate of 50,000 bushels a day, Sawyer said. Every bushel of corn, worth $3.60 unprocessed, creates 17 pounds of distilled grain and 2.8 gallons of ethanol.

Sawyer said ethanol production is fast becoming an alternative to foreign oil. The total national ethanol production is expected to double to 12 billion gallons by December 2008, he said.

As much of the corn as possible will be purchased from local farmers, but the rest will need to be shipped from the West, said CEO of Western New York Energy John Sawyer, a Livingston County farmer who has been working on the Ethanol Plant project for the past eight years.

“I felt putting an (Ethanol) plant in New York state would help it from a corn-growing standpoint,” said John said, who is Mike Sawyer’s father. Ethanol eventually became more popular, and his company, Western New York Energy, was incorporated four years ago.

Jim Panek of Panek Farms on County House Road in Albion said he has contracted 50 percent of his corn production over the next six months. He watched as large trucks filled with his corn were brought to the plant for the first time Thursday.

Text Only
Local News