Ethanol project, which will support startup of coal plant, put into motion

Midwest AgEnergy Group said Aug. 9 that it is moving forward with plans to build the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery that will produce ethanol, distillers grains and fuel-grade corn oil at the coal-fired Spiritwood Energy Park near Jamestown, N.D.

“Today’s groundbreaking marks a significant milestone for the 65 million gallon-per-year biorefinery, and it represents a result achieved by the combined efforts of many stakeholders. Dakota Spirit AgEnergy creates value at the intersection between agriculture and energy,” said Greg Ridderbusch, president, Midwest AgEnergy Group.

The energy industry will benefit with a new supply of 65 million gallons of a renewable fuel. Dakota Spirit AgEnergy is located in a major corn production area, and will purchase 23 million bushels of corn annually.

The ethanol biorefinery will be co-located next to Great River Energy’s 99-MW Spiritwood Station, a coal-fired combined heat and power plant that was built several years ago but never operated. Spiritwood Station, when operating, will provide process steam to the biorefinery. This eliminates the need for Dakota Spirit AgEnergy to build and operate a boiler, which creates a sustainable long-term advantage that is important in a commodity market.

Near term activities include engineering and site preparation, with full construction operations underway this fall. Commercial operation is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.

Midwest AgEnergy Group, an upper Midwest biofuels enterprise, is owned by Great River Energy and will invest growth equity and debt from other accredited investors including banks and international, agricultural and industrial businesses. Midwest AgEnergy Group owns Dakota Spirit AgEnergy and Blue Flint Ethanol, an existing 65 million gallon-per-year ethanol biorefinery near Underwood, N.D.

Blue Flint Ethanol was the first co-located, directly integrated biorefinery in North America, and is located next to the coal-fired Coal Creek power plant. The successful operating approaches that have been proven at Blue Flint Ethanol since it began commercial operation in February 2007 will be replicated at the new Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol biorefinery near Jamestown, N.D.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.