VeraSun Energy Corp. on Thursday announced the startup of its 110 million gallon per year ethanol biorefinery near Hartley. The Hartley plant is the 13th VeraSun biorefinery in operation. The opening pushed the company's annual production capacity to more than 1.3 billion gallons. "We are pleased to bring our Hartley ethanol biorefinery into production," said VeraSun CEO Don Endres, in a statement. "It is one of the largest and most efficient facilities in the nation.
Endres said the company appreciated the support of its team, business partners, and the community of Hartley. The plant will employ about 55 workers.
Shift work was put on hold in June when market conditions prompted a delay in the Hartley plant opening. The cost fluctuations also prevented the company from identifying a new start up date at the time.
Construction began on a 350-acre site west of Hartley in November 2006. The biorefinery will process about 39 million bushels of corn each year and will produce about 350,000 tons of distillers grains for livestock feed. VeraSun Hartley is the fourth VeraSun facility to come on-line this year, joining sister production facilities in Marion, S.D., Bloomingburg, Ohio, and Hankinson, N.D.
According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the Hartley plant is the 31st operating ethanol biorefinery in the state of Iowa, expanding overall production throughout the state to almost 2.5 billion gallons annually. "At 2.5 billion gallons, Iowa is producing more ethanol than what that state consumes in gasoline annually, thus becoming a net exporter of transportation fuel," Endres said in the company's announcement. "While the national debate continues on how to solve our energy crisis, Iowa is showing the nation how we can become less reliant on foreign oil today."