ICM buys Colwich ethanol plant caught in bankruptcy

The Abengoa ethanol plant in Colwich in 2015.
The Abengoa ethanol plant in Colwich in 2015. Eagle file photo

Colwich-based ICM was the successful bidder for the neighboring ethanol plant that was sold through Abengoa Bioenergy’s bankruptcy.

ICM, which manages ethanol plants and does research and development on ethanol production processes, bid $3.1 million for the plant and property, which sits a few hundred yards east of the ICM offices on the edge of Colwich. The plant was operated by High Plains Energy for about 20 years until it was bought in 2001 by Spanish alternative energy giant Abengoa. It shut down in November.

Abengoa Bioenergy, the American arm of Abengoa, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February and is in the process of selling off assets.

The acquisition must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri at a hearing next week. If approved, the sale would close the next day.

ICM President Chris Mitchell said it’s too soon to say whether the plant, which employed about 20 when it was in production, will ever be reactivated.

“The property is adjacent to our headquarters and we are in the business of supporting technology in the renewable energy and ag space,” he said. “We see some possibilities in having ownership of the property and we’ll be evaluating it over time.”