Developers plan crop waste ethanol plant in North Dakota

Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A group of developers is planning to make ethanol from the stalks and leaves of North Dakota wheat straw and corn plants.

New Energy Investors is looking to develop a 13-million gallon, cellulosic ethanol plant at the Spiritwood Industrial Park near Jamestown, the Bismarck Tribune ( reported.

“What attracts us here is we believe North Dakota has good policy to support us,” said Thomas Corle, New Energy co-founder and partner. “The investment community here seems focused on agricultural products and generating new revenues back to the farm.”

Corle said the city of Jamestown has also been supportive of the project.

“We certainly want North Dakota to partner in this project with us,” he said.

The company is asking the North Dakota Agricultural Products Utilization Commission for $125,000 for a three-month feasibility study. Corle said the study would be to reassure potential investors.

“We don’t foresee any roadblock,” he said, adding that the company has had a lot of investor interest thus far, but no committed investments.

He said that after the study, the company expects permitting and engineering to take about a year to complete.

The company plans to get its feedstock from a 50-mile radius that stretches west to Tappen, south to Edgeley, north to Carrington and east to Buffalo.

Corle said the company is talking with local farmers to determine waste product prices that would be fair for both parties.

“We want to keep the growers happy,” he said.

Corle and his partners began developing the concept for the plant six years ago and created the company a year and a half ago.