Second Indiana ethanol project screeches to halt

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Construction on an ethanol plant near Montpelier has stopped, and the company developing the $150 million project, Central States Enterprises of Heathrow, Fla., doesn’t plan to resume work any time soon. Central States told The Star-Press of Muncie that it is taking a “more deliberate approach.”

Early this month, Broins & Associates of Sioux Falls, S.D., said it had abandoned plans to build an ethanol plant in Wells County, but would proceed with two others near Portland and Alexandria. The Montpelier and Wells County plants are between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

Approximately 20 ethanol projects are in various stages of planning or construction in the state. Investors are rushing to supply a replacement for methyl tertiary butyl ether, a gasoline additive that has been banned for environmental reasons.

However, experts have warned that the explosion of plants could drive the price of corn, the main ingredient in making ethanol, so high that the plants are no longer economically feasible.

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