With the startup of its fifth biorefinery near Albion, Neb., Brookings-based VeraSun has boosted its ethanol capacity to 560 million gallons per year, the company announced Tuesday.
Don Endres, VeraSun's chairman and chief executive officer, said the startup is an indication that the company and industry are continuing to grow.
"As we bring new facilities online, the ethanol being produced is finding its way into the marketplace and continues to be blended as a value-added, high-octane component to our nation's fuel supply," Endres said in a release.
The Albion plant is one of three obtained through VeraSun's $725 million purchase of Dallas-based ASAlliances Biofuels in August. The facility is expected to produce about 110 million gallons of the alternative fuel per year using about 39 million bushels of corn.
The Albion biorefinery is a sister facility to VeraSun's existing plants in Aurora, just a few miles from its Brookings headquarters, in Linden, Ind., and in the Iowa communities of Fort Dodge and Charles City.
VeraSun also has four facilities are under construction or development in Hartley, Iowa, Welcome, Minn, Reynolds, Ind., and Bloomingburg, Ohio.
Each VeraSun plant also yields 350,000 tons of dried distillers grains, a byproduct of the ethanol process used as an animal feed ingredient. The company eventually plans to extract oil from the grains to also produce biodiesel, which will give VeraSun an additional product to sell while improving the value of its distillers grain by removing fat.
The nation's 130 ethanol plants can produce more than 6.5 billion gallons of the fuel per year, and another 73 plants under construction and 10 under expansion are getting ready to boost annual capacity to 13.5 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.