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Dakota Spirit Energy has announced construction of the first new US ethanol plant since 2007. It will be built in Spritwood, SD, next to an idle coal fired power plant, which will be restarted to provide steam for the ethanol plant.

The plant will cost $150MM with a capacity of 65 MM gal, or $2.30/gal of capacity. That is quite high compared to the $1.50/gal typical for a natural gas fired plant. Perhaps that includes investment in the coal fired plant. Low cost coal must make this an attractive fuel if you have the needed permits.

The plant will use 23MM bushels of corn and is due to startup in 2015.

The company also plans to build an ammonia plant on the site. It will use natural gas as feedstock for synthesis gas. (Coal could be used, but those plants are more expensive, dirtier, and more difficult to permit.)
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