Two Nebraska ethanol plants idled

Abengoa Bioenergy has announced that it will temporarily shut down its two ethanol plants in Nebraska until market conditions improve.

The company’s Ravenna plant has the capacity to produce 88 million gallons annually, while the one in York is a 55-million gallon plant. 

An Abengoa spokesperson told Bloomberg that they will, in his words, “maintain a ready mode for quick restart when market conditions improve, but have no definite restart date at this time.”

Abengoa operates four other grain ethanol plants—two in Illinois, one in Kansas and another in New Mexico.  The company has also discussed building biomass plants in Nebraska and Kansas.

Meanwhile, Iowa State University farm business management specialist Steve Johnson warns that more ethanol plant shutdowns are likely in the coming months.  Speaking to farmers at a Farm Credit Services meeting in Lenox, Iowa earlier this week, Johnson said that as corn supplies continue to tighten, he wouldn’t be surprised to see half of Iowa’s 41 ethanol plants being temporarily idled by July.

“There’s the risk—what happens when the feedlots and the dairies can’t afford your corn and the ethanol plants use the Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) and just start slowing down this late winter,” Johnson told Brownfield.

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