SALEM, Ohio – Monroe Energy of Greenford is eyeing four eastern Ohio sites for the construction of a new ethanol facility.
Columbiana and Leetonia in Columbiana County, Lordstown in Trumbull County and Lowellville in Mahoning County are on the list of possible locations for the plant, which will produce 100 million gallons of ethanol per year at full capacity.
John Monroe, who owns Monroe Energy, said the company is hoping to break ground within the next year, although it could be as late as 2008.
Feasibility study. Right now, the company is finishing a feasibility study to determine the most economical route for the project. Next, Monroe will work with engineers to finalize the details of the plan.
The company needs 120-200 acres for the plant and it will select a site based on factors like area utility costs and tax incentives.
In addition to the ethanol plant, the company is also planning to construct a 30- to 50-million gallon biodiesel facility.
During its first year of operation, Monroe said the corn-based ethanol plant will likely produce about 50 million gallons of ethanol. A three-phase plan will gradually increase the plant’s production until it reaches the 100-million gallon mark.
Jobs. Monroe expects the facility to employ 40-60 people initially. Eventually, it will create 60-100 new jobs.
The company will be able to provide B-20, E-10 and E-85 fuels directly to area residents.
There isn’t a solid number yet for the initial investment in the project, according to Monroe. But preliminary estimates put the figure around $2 million, which would come from 10 investors.
The search for investors began the week of June 26 and none have been locked in yet.
Monroe hopes to find area investors for the project, but said outside help is available if the goal isn’t met locally.
“We do have a road to go down, but it’s out of the area,” he said.
Estimated cost. The estimated cost of the project is $100 million for the first phase.
Monroe, of Greenford, said the company has been working on the ethanol plant project for well over a year. So far, the response has been positive.
Monroe’s other business interests prompted him to look into building the ethanol facility. He co-owns an excavating company and he owns a development company and a rental company. When he noticed the cost of fuel affecting the cost of operation at those businesses, he began thinking about how he could change it.
The businessman said he’s always been interested in improving the environment, so the ethanol plant seemed like a logical project.
Helping farmers. In addition, Monroe hopes to see the farming community benefit from the ethanol plant.
“They’re (farmers) the hardest working people who don’t get what their product is worth,” Monroe said.
Although the company could have chosen sites in other areas, it wanted to keep the project in the Mahoning Valley, according to Monroe.
More detailed information will be available within the next few months, Monroe added.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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