LINCOLN, Neb. -- Central Bio-Energy LLC plans to invest more than $500 million to build three 100 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plants in Seward, Howard and Chase counties in Nebraska.

These plants will employ 150 full-time staff, with combined annual payroll in excess of $6 million. This investment will make CBE one of the leading ethanol producers in Nebraska, officials said. Projected annual revenues, when all three plants are operational, will approach $600 million.

Because CBE will be a large consumer of corn, the three new ethanol plants will also benefit Nebraska farmers. "Each plant will purchase approximately 40 million bushels annually, or 120 million bushels in total," CBE chief financial officer Brett Frevert said, "providing a tremendous boost to the local corn markets."

CBE will also sell distillers' grains, the after-product of its ethanol plants to local cattle feeders as a less-expensive, but high-quality, alternative to corn.

CBE has acquired options on tracts of land in Seward, Howard and Chase counties after exhaustive site selection research. Potential sites were identified and rigorously evaluated for transportation, utilities and corn and livestock capacity.

CBE has signed Plant Development Agreements (PDAs) with Delta-T Corp., one of the leading ethanol technology firms in the United States, to provide the engineering and technology design for all three plants.

CBE has also signed contracts with The Boldt Group Inc., of Wisconsin, as general contractor. Boldt is one of the top 75 largest contractors in the United States and is ranked 20th among fuel project contractors.

CBE is negotiating with Tenaska BioFuels, LLC, which provides marketing, physical delivery and financial services to customers in the ethanol and biodiesel industries, to provide various consulting, supply and marketing services to CBE for their ethanol facilities.

Construction of the first plant near St. Paul in Howard County is scheduled to begin later this year and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008. The second plant, scheduled to begin construction in the spring of 2007, will be built near Utica in Seward County and is expected to be operational by the summer of 2008. The third plant, to be built near Imperial in Chase County, will break ground in the spring of 2007 and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2008.

CBE plans to contract with ConAgra Trade Group Inc. for grain procurement, distiller's grain marketing and commodity risk management services.

Central Bio-Energy LLC, Grand Island, Neb., is a developer of state-of-the-art processing facilities and an investor in existing facilities to improve operational efficiency and create added value for all shareholders.

SOURCE: Central Bio-Energy LLC via Business Wire.