Valero buys Aventine corn ethanol plant in Indiana

Valero Energy has purchased a corn ethanol plant in Mount Vernon, Indiana, from Aventine Renewable Energy, officials confirmed on Friday.

The plant has a production capacity of 110 million gal/year and uses Delta-T technology, similar to the process already in use at Valero's ethanol plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

The Mount Vernon plant is the 11th corn ethanol plant in Valero's system and its second in Indiana. The addition will give Valero more than 1.3 billion gal/year in ethanol production

The Mount Vernon plant has been shut down for approximately two years, but Valero plans to begin a restart program and resume production within the next several months.

"We're looking forward to hiring employees, restarting the plant and producing ethanol," said Martin Parrish, Valero's vice president of alternative energy and development. "We intend to invest in the Mount Vernon plant to make it competitive with other top-tier ethanol facilities, and we will use the technical expertise we have gained at our other plants to look at ways to improve Mount Vernon's reliability, production rate and product yields."

The Mount Vernon plant's logistical advantages include ready access to corn suppliers as well as strong rail, truck and barge transportation, according to Valero officials.

The plant is at the Port of Indiana on a location leased from Ports of Indiana, the state port authority. That relationship will continue.

"This purchase diversifies Valero Renewables' portfolio of assets and access to markets, and it will be positive for the Mount Vernon area as well," said Gene Edwards, who has overseen Valero's ethanol plant acquisitions. "We look forward to a strong working relationship with Ports of Indiana, and as the other communities where we have ethanol plants have discovered."

Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper lauded the transaction, noting that it is Valero's first facility located at a major port on the inland waterway system.

"This facility will provide Valero with a tremendous strategic advantage in the production and distribution of ethanol," Cooper said. "This project combines the resources and expertise of a world-class company like Valero with one of the world's richest grain producing regions and this port's multimodal capabilities."

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