Ethanol coming to Concordia

A new company, Everton Energy, is making plans for an ethanol plant in Cloud County that will produce about 100 million gallons a year.

By Phyllis Jacobs Griekspoor, Wichita Eagle, Sep. 09, 2006

Everton Energy, a new Wichita company, plans to build a $170 million ethanol project near Concordia.

Everton, formed by Leon Trammell, chairman of Tramco Inc. in Wichita, and Steve Cloud, president of Tramco, will produce about 100 million gallons of ethanol a year and will be built by ICM of Colwich, a leading ethanol design company.

Trammell said the plant will be financed through private equity and will be built on 160 acres of land south and east of the Cloud County fairgrounds. He said the project team is working with the city, a hydrologist and a Kansas water rights attorney to secure sufficient water for the project.

If the city agrees to provide the needed water for the plant, Everton Energy will request that the land be annexed to the city.

CloudCorp, a private sector economic development organization in Cloud County, has supported Everton's efforts to build a plant in Concordia. Trammell said he has been working with the group since May to facilitate the project.

Kirk Lowell, executive director of CloudCorp, said he thinks the plant will provide a tremendous regional economic boost in north-central Kansas, supporting local farmers, businesses, governments and residents.

The initial economic impact of construction alone will be significant, generating hundreds of local jobs. The completed plant will employ between 50 and 60 people and will generate hundreds more jobs in trucking, railroads and other support services, officials said.

A 100-million-gallon facility will spend an estimated $88.2 million for goods and services and use 36.4 million bushels of grain, according to economic impact studies for other ethanol projects.

Cloud, who will serve as vice chairman of Everton Energy, said he was impressed with the amount of construction support available in the Concordia area and with the local businesses who contributed to the construction of Cloud Ceramics' new brick manufacturing plant.

Bert Farrish, a former deputy administrator of commodity operations in the Farm Service Agency, has joined Everton Energy as president and chief executive. He will represent the Concordia project at the Ethanol Finance and Investment Summit in New York next week.

Farrish said Everton Energy hopes to develop a positive working relationship with the local community and will develop an active program to buy grain from area producers and grain handlers.

Construction is expected to begin in May 2007.

Reach P.J. Griekspoor at 316-268-6660 or at pgriekspoor@wichitaeagle.com.


City pledges money for ethanol study

Investors seek more partners to secure financing for project

By Jessica LeDuc, Blade staff writer, The Concordia Blade, January 19, 2006

Ethanol was the buzz word at last night’s Concordia City Commission meeting, and Commissioners pledged $5,000 toward a study to bring an ethanol plant to Cloud County.

The city’s $5,000 appropriation will go to CloudCorp, and matches $5,000 each given by CloudCorp and Cloud County. The money will be used to help fund a $50,000 feasibility study to see if Cloud County is a viable location for an ethanol plant.

Ethanol is a clean-burning fuel that is produced from renewable sources, most notably, corn. At its most basic, ethanol is grain alcohol, but pure ethanol is not generally used as a motor fuel. Instead, a percentage of ethanol is combined with unleaded gasoline.

While Commissioner Darrel Hosie said an ethanol plant would benefit everyone, he had to question the city’s contribution.

"I think having an ethanol plant will certainly be beneficial to the economy," Hosie said. "But, I have to ask myself the question of why should the citizens of Concordia put up $5,000 of their tax funds for an ethanol plant somewhere in the area?"

Hosie said he would like the Commissioners to take pause, and determine if there would be a direct benefit to the city to justify the expenditure.

Commissioner Joe Strecker, who is the city’s representative on the CloudCorp Board, said he supported the possibility of ethanol.

"Agriculture is still the number one industry in North Central Kansas," Strecker said. "If you don't believe it, look at the grocery store - it all comes off the farm.

"We're all in this together. I think it's the right thing to do."
Commissioner Art Slaughter asked Kirk Lowell, executive director of CloudCorp, to give some background on the project.

Lowell said, with the city’s contribution, $43,400 had been raised to fund the feasibility study. Money has not only come from CloudCorp and the county, but also local ag producers, AgMark, the Cloud County Elevator Assoc., and several local banks.

"If you can land an $80 to $100 million ethanol plant in your community, I think it’s a project that raises all the boats," Lowell said in describing how an ethanol plant would benefit everyone.

While the feasibility study could reveal that Cloud County is not a viable option, Lowell said a calculated risk had to be made.

"Big picture, it looks like it could work here," he said. "Now, we have to do the full blown feasibility study."

Having an ethanol plant in the county would provide hundreds of jobs, but getting it here would cost a great deal of money. Lowell said there would probably need to be $30 to $40 million in equity to go toward the project.

"If every man, woman, child, and baby in Cloud County invested $1,000 in this project, that wouldn’t even raise $11 million," he said. "So we’re going to have to attract regional partners to this project."

The way to attract these partners, and developers, is to have a comprehensive feasibility study. Commissioner Phil Gilliland asked if the city would have access to that study, and Lowell said it would. The study can then be used to develop other projects.

Hosie reiterated that he was not opposed to the project.
"I was just concerned because it’s not a city project," he said. "We just need to make sure city money is being used correctly."

Having done that, Hosie said, he would make the motion for the appropriation, which passed 5-0.