VOLNEY, NY – ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œToday is the day weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve been waiting for.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Those were the sentiments of Brian Roach, plant manager at Northeast Biofuels (NEB), Friday morning as he announced the first shipment of ethanol was loaded into a Fastrac tanker. Fastrac Markets purchased the ethanol for blending as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œE-10,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â which will be sold at Fastrac locations throughout Central New York.
Roach explained that after two years of construction, NEB is producing 155,000 gallons of ethanol per day. He said the company should be in full production, creating 200,000 gallons of ethanol per day, by September.
Roach noted that the local plant is one of the most environmentally friendly ethanol facilities in the United States. It is meeting key objectives set down in the earliest days, he said, including creating alternate energy sources and creating jobs.
In the two years since construction began, Roach said the company has employed 600 building trades craftsmen. He said that the quality of the workmanship at the facility has been outstanding.
The next step, Roach said, is sustainability.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMy goalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ was to get the plant operating safe and efficiently,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Roach said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe next step is sustainability.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Recognizing the lifespan for corn-based ethanol, Roach said that the company will also continue to invest in research to create alternatives to natural gas using other renewable sources. He pointed out, however, that without corn-based ethanol, NEB wouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have the opportunity to examine the potential to use other feedstocks.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re going to be a partner in the community for a long time to come,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Roach said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œAnd we are going to do it the right way.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
John Lytwynec, who heads motor fuel distribution for Fastrac, said his company is pleased to be NEBÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s first customer. He noted that this is the first time Fastrac has been able to purchase ethanol from a local source, rather than suppliers in the Midwest.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThank you for the investment youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve made in New York state,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Lytwynec said. Once NEB is able to handle FastracÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s needs, Lytwynec said NEB will become his companyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sole supplier of ethanol.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe are very pleased that the first ethanol from NEB will be marketed to Central New York motorists by a New York company like Fastrac,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Doug MacKenzie, NEB president and CEO.
MacKenzie said that the Volney plant will sell most of its product to out of state consumers as it works to build its local market. While he confirmed that talks are underway, he declined to discuss who the potential customers are at this time.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œAnyone who would like to buy it, weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll sell it,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Roach noted.
MacKenzie emphasized that the first batch of ethanol coming out of NEB was largely produced from corn that was purchased from local farmers.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe will maximize local corn to the full extent available,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Roach said. He noted that 61 trucks of primarily local corn were unloaded Thursday, as they have been for several weeks.
MacKenzie noted that the plant is ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œpretty well finished.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â A pipeline that will be used to capture carbon dioxide is nearing completion, he said, noting that the ability to capture and sell the gas is one of the things that makes NEB unique in the industry.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMost plants cannot sell carbon dioxide,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he said, noting that the gas is more often an emission for similar facilities.
NEB expects to use more than 41 million bushels of corn to create 114 million gallons of ethanol per year. Approximately 25 percent of that corn is expected to come from local growers.
More than 100 full-time positions will be employed on site by NEB and its supplier partners. An estimated 1,500 indirect jobs in the agri-business and transportation sectors are also expected as a result of the project.
The company utilizes 90 acres of the 420-acre Riverview Business Park, formerly the Miller Brewery. Almost all of the infrastructure used to brew beer for that company has been utilized for ethanol production. The balance of the complex will be developed as one of the nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s largest renewable energy/agri-business parks.