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Feds pledge $14M for Ont. ethanol plant

Toronto ethanol manufacturer GreenField Ethanol will get up to $14 million in federal funds to support the facility where the company began 20 years ago.

The government on Wednesday announced funding through its ecoEnergy for Biofuels program for GreenField’s ethanol plant at Tiverton, Ont., about 150 km northwest of Guelph.

GreenField, then known as Commercial Alcohols, built its first ethanol plant at Tiverton in 1989. The company in 1996 signed the country’s first fuel ethanol supply agreement with a major oil company, and opened its first large-scale fuel ethanol facility two years later at Chatham, Ont.

The federal funds will “result in an important investment that contributes to greater workplace opportunity for the Tiverton community,” GreenField CEO Robert Gallant said in the company’s release.

The company didn’t specify its plans for the investment, but says on its website that its Tiverton plant is an “ideal testing site for research and development projects because the plant ferments ethanol in batches instead of continuously. This limits the impact of unexpected trial outcomes.”

The ecoEnergy for Biofuels program is meant to back the production of renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel and the development of a competitive domestic industry for renewable fuels. It also provides an “operating incentive” to facilities that produce renewable fuel alternatives in Canada, the government said.

According to GreenField, Tiverton produces about 3.5 million litres of fuel ethanol and 27 million litres of industrial alcohol per year. The plant uses about 2.7 million bushels of Ontario corn per year, of which 65,000 tonnes is returned as wet distillers’ grains for use in livestock feed rations.

By comparison, GreenField’s facilities at Chatham and at Varennes, Que., produce up to 133 million and 120 million litres of fuel ethanol per year, respectively.

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