Southern Indiana ethanol plant starts after long halt on work

A company is ramping up production at an ethanol plant in southwestern Indiana that is now operating after construction work was halted for more than a year.

Pekin, Ill.-based Aventine Renewable Energy produced its first ethanol on Nov. 30 at the Mount Vernon plant, which it started building in late 2007.

Company CEO Thomas Manuel tells the Evansville Courier & Press he knows there was skepticism that the 45-worker plant would ever open. Aventine stopped construction on the plant in late 2008 and didn't resume until March 2010 after emerging from bankruptcy.

The company expects to produce about 110 million gallons of ethanol a year from the plant at full capacity. Production is about 55 percent now and gradually increasing.

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