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Alternative Energy Sources to Build Ethanol Plant in Kankakee, IL

Kansas City-based Alternative Energy Sources Inc today announced plans to build a 110-million-gallon ethanol plant 65 miles south of Chicago in Kankakee, Ill. This follows an announcement on Aug. 15 that the company plans to build its first ethanol plant in Central Iowa.

The Kankakee plant will be adjacent to the Canadian National/Illinois Central main railroad line, which links the Gulf states with Canada and intersects with east-west rail lines crossing the Midwest. The plant location also abuts Interstate 57, providing truck transport to Midwestern markets. "With both rail and truck shipping capabilities readily available, we will be able to serve national markets as well as neighboring communities in Northeastern Illinois and Northwestern Indiana," stated Mark Beemer, AENS president and CEO.

AENS has optioned the entire 248-acre Kankakee Industrial Park next to a newly permitted regional sanitary landfill. "In addition to giving us the large footprint needed for flexibility in plant design, this will allow us to acquire landfill methane gas for our operations at one-third the cost of natural gas on a Btu-adjusted basis," said Lee Blank, AENS executive vice president and chief operating officer. Blank and Beemer are both former executives of Archer Daniels Midland Co., the nation's No. 1 ethanol producer.

Construction will begin in six to nine months, with the plant scheduled to be in operation by fall 2008. Using more than 35 million bushels of corn annually, the plant will be a major consumer of corn grown in Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. Annual output is projected to be more than 100 million gallons of ethanol.

Once the plant goes into operation, it will provide jobs for 45 to 55 people with payroll between $2.5 and $3.5 million. The facility will have many components in common with those in the 110-million-gallon plant to be built in Boone County, Iowa. AENS also plans to build additional plants in the Midwest as well as the first cellulosic ethanol facility in the Eastern United States. All of the plants are projected to produce about 100 carloads of ethanol per week.

Beemer further noted U.S. automakers are producing more vehicles that run on a fuel mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, and that gas stations are continually gaining customers at their E-85 pumps.

Kankakee Mayor Donald E. Green noted that the area's infrastructure, location and experienced labor force were drivers for selecting Kankakee for the plant site. "Coming on the heels of the opening of the new $40 million IKO roof-shingle plant and the $17 million expansion of the Cognis chemical plant, Kankakee is demonstrating its ability to attract quality manufacturing concerns and sustainable growth," Green stated. "The city is becoming known as much for manufacturing as for its agriculture."

The Kankakee County Economic Development Association has been actively involved in efforts to bring ethanol production to our community, according to Joseph Franco, KCEDA chairman. "We are very pleased with Alternative Energy's decision to construct a plant in Kankakee," he said. "Their commitment to this community is an example of how collaboration among city and county government, economic-development resources and public-private partnerships results in successful county development."

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