Ethanol is being used as a fuel alternative to gasoline. People would recognize ethanol from grain-based alcohol such as everclear. The difference between ethanol as fuel, and as a drink is the pureness of the mixture. An additive called denaturant is also added to fuel-based ethanol as federal law constitutes to keep people from drinking it.
The plant is set up to produce around 250,000 gallons of fuel a day, taking 90,000 bushels of corn. The corn is being taken from ConAgra, a grain supplier with local elevators in Roachdale, Terre Haute and Sullivan.
There are 45 to 50 workers at the plant, mostly consisting of plant operators and maintenance workers.
"We have a very good hiring process," said Chuck Moseman, General Manager. "The candidates must take a test then go through a group assessment with tasks to see how they interact with other people before an interview was given."
The Cloverdale plant will mark the second plant opened by Altra. The other plant located in Coshocton, Ohio, came on line in Feb. 2008.
"We will be on line sometime in April," Moseman commented.
According to www.ethanol.org, there are presently 142 ethanol plants producing right now, with an additional 67 still under construction.
Moseman said this plant is bigger than the older plants, but is average size for the new type of plants being built.
All revenue the plant will take in is based on the price of ethanol.
Corn prices per bushel are up while ethanol prices are down, making it necessary for ethanol plants to run very efficiently in order to collect a profit. The Cloverdale plant will run 24 hours a day.