October 25, 2013

Pratt ethanol plant reopens under new partnership

An ethanol plant in Pratt shuttered for five years has reopened under the ownership of Pratt Energy, a partnership between Scoular Co. and Pratt Biofuel Investors, according to the company.

Pratt Energy operates the plant and markets the ethanol, while Scoular buys the grain from farmers and sells the byproduct of production, the distillers grain, usually for livestock feed.

Scoular bought the closed 55 million-gallon plant and adjoining 1.8 million-bushel grain facility in 2011 from Gateway Plant, largely for the grain handling facility. In December, Scoular sold part interest in the property to veteran operators Pratt Biofuel Investors.

The president of Pratt Energy is Lyle Schlyer, who is also president of Calgren Renewable Fuels, which owns and operates a nearly identical plant in Pixley, Calif.

Pratt Biofuel Investors renovated and operates the plant. The plant began grinding corn and producing ethanol in September. Jerry Schroeder, formerly with Calgren and now with Pratt Energy, manages the plant’s operations.

The majority of the anticipated 20 million bushels a year of corn and grain sorghum for the plant will come from within 75 miles of Pratt, said Scott Anderson, Pratt Energy’s ethanol marketing manager. Most of the ethanol will be shipped for use in Wichita, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

There is some economic development from the reopening. The renovation work was done primarily with local subcontractors and the company hired 35 permanent workers at the plant, Anderson said. Additionally, the plant will generate significant truck and train traffic.

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