Local News | Ethanol plant begins production | Seattle Times Newspaper

Local News | Ethanol plant begins production | Seattle Times Newspaper: "The Northwest's first ethanol plant rises from an arid tract of land along the Columbia River, where trainloads of Midwest corn are being turned into 200-proof alcohol motor fuel and cattle feed.

The new plant in Boardman, Ore., was built by Pacific Ethanol, a publicly traded company that last year attracted an $84 million investment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Company officials, who held a kickoff ceremony Friday, plan to produce some 40 million gallons of ethanol that will be blended with gasoline and sold to motorists. 'Our world is demanding an alternative to oil, and we are a small step in that direction,' said Tom Koehler, a Pacific Ethanol vice president.

This $100 million plant is among dozens built across the country in recent years, a construction boom that has pushed annual U.S. production capacity to more than 6.5 billion gallons annually and brought new investment in many rural communities."
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