- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - An ethanol plant in northern South Dakota, which was one of the first in the country, recently was shut down because the facility is outdated.

The Advanced BioEnergy plant in Aberdeen began operating in the early 1990s, when it was known as Heartland Grain Fuels. But the plant was closed last week because it’s now too costly to operate due to the outdated technology, company CEO Rich Peterson told the American News (http://bit.ly/1q0m4LB ).

“It’s an old asset that has lived its day. It’s time to put her out to pasture,” Peterson said.

He said the company either needed to invest a lot of money in the plant or close it, and the plant’s output wasn’t worth the investment.

“A plant that size should have been shut down two years ago,” Peterson said. Financially, “it’s like running a business and agreeing to burn money every month.”

The Minnesota-based company will continue to operate a larger plant that opened in the city in 2008. The larger plant can produce up to 48.5 million gallons of fuel annually, compared with 8.5 million gallons at the smaller plant.

Peterson said the closure of the smaller plant will have “zero effect” on customers. He said “a handful” of employees lost jobs with the smaller plant’s closing.

Corn syrup will no longer be available as a commodity, but the smaller plant only produced it because of the facility’s inefficiencies, according to Peterson.

He noted that the company’s revenue from corn syrup was less than two-tenths of a percent of its total sales.

“There’s plenty of product in the marketplace,” Peterson said. “It’s absolutely ridiculous to think (the plant’s closure) will have any impact.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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