VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Northwest Renewable LLC has broken ground on an ethanol production facility on a 31.8-acre site in Longview, Wash. When completed, the plant will be the first large-scale ethanol facility in the state.

Site work on the plant, which is located in the Mint Farm Industrial Park, will begin in December 2006, and the first ethanol production is expected to start in June 2008, the company announced.

"We are excited to break ground on this facility, as this is a major step forward in bringing an alternative fuel source to the Pacific Northwest and lessening our country's dependence on foreign oil," said Elie Makad, chairman of US Ethanol -- the parent company of Northwest Renewable -- and of Makad Corp., the Longview site's developer. "Our integrated approach to ethanol production and distribution will ultimately bring locally produced US Ethanol(TM) branded products, including E85 fuel, direct to consumers along the Interstate 5 corridor."

The plant is expected to produce 55 million gallons of undenatured ethanol annually. In addition, Northwest Renewable will manufacture approximately 169,000 tons per year of dried distiller's grain with solubles (DDGS), a corn derivative from the ethanol production process that is a high-protein product used by the animal feed industry.

At a construction cost of nearly $100 million, the ethanol plant will provide a significant economic impact to the Longview community. Initial estimates call for between 200 and 350 jobs during the construction phase, and 41 full-time employees once production begins.

Northwest Renewable has engaged Lurgi Inc., based in Memphis, Tenn., and Makad Construction Corp., of Vancouver, Wash., to provide engineering procurement and construction for the Longview facility. Lurgi has lent its expertise to ethanol plant projects in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Illinois and Indiana.

Lansing Trade Group has been selected to procure and deliver the 19 million bushels of corn needed for the Longview ethanol facility. Approximately six million bushels will come from local Washington and Oregon farmers, and the remaining 13 million bushels will be sourced from Midwestern states. US Ethanol believes that over time up to 10 million bushels could come from local growers in the Pacific Northwest as farmers produce more corn directly targeted for the ethanol plant.

US Ethanol LLC, through its subsidiary Northwest Renewable LLC, will operate a 55-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Longview, Wash., that is scheduled to begin production in 2008. The company plans to produce and distribute ethanol-blended fuel under its US Ethanol(TM) brand along the Interstate 5 corridor, running from Canada to Sacramento, Calif.

SOURCE: US Ethanol LLC via Business Wire.