3:40 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Illinois Ethanol Plant Celebrates Anniversary

Patriot Renewable Fuels plant near I-80 in Annawan, Illinois
Patriot Renewable Fuels plant near I-80 in Annawan, Illinois
Credit Herb Trix / IPR

Millions of bushels of corn from northwestern Illinois have been turned into billions of dollars, thanks to an ethanol plant near Annawan in Henry County. Patriot Renewable Fuels will celebrate its 5 year anniversary with an open house and tours Thursday and Friday. IPR's Herb Trix reports.

The plant along interstate-80 opened in 2008. And since then, president and ceo Gene Griffith says it's produced 550 million gallons of ethanol. Mostly from nearby farmers, Patriot has bought 40 million bushels of corn per year, at an average price of more than five dollars.

"When they total that up, that's two hundred million bushels of corn. And when we looked at the numbers we actually paid for it, that's over 1.1 billion dollars. I never thought that in five years we would have numbers that begin with a B."

And here's another "B" - that 550 million gallons of ethanol has been sold for 1.2 billion dollars. Griffith says that's a big boost for the local economy, plus it's lowered our dependance on foreign oil and lowered the US trade deficit. The plant employs 60 people. And besides ethanol, it sells a by-product, dried distillers grain, that's used as a protein additive for livestock feed.