Ethanol plant in South Bend plans to reopen under new owner
A northern Indiana ethanol plant is expected to restart in the coming months after being shut down last November just before its owner filed for bankruptcy.
Connecticut-based Noble Americas Corp. has taken over the former New Energy Corp. plant in South Bend and anticipates restarting it by early next year, the mayor’s office announced Thursday.
Indiana’s first ethanol plant opened in 1984. The new owners purchased the plant from two liquidators, who bought it for $2.5 million at a bankruptcy auction in January. Noble Americas expects the reopened plant to have about 50 workers, down from 90 employees New Energy had there in 2011, the South Bend Tribune reported.
“This acquisition will help complement Noble’s existing ethanol business in the United States,” company President William Cronin said in a statement. “The idea is to organically grow this into a major physical ethanol business.”
The South Bend plant’s future has been in doubt as many ethanol producers have been struggling amid high corn prices and flat demand for gasoline.
South Bend officials also are looking to install wells in hopes of relieving the basement flooding that began at numerous homes near the facility after it shut down and stopped pumping about 6 million gallons of water a day.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s office said the city was still moving ahead with those plans.
“We are optimistic the new owners of the former New Energy plant will work in the best interest of our community,” Buttigieg spokeswoman Kara Kelly said. “The owner will take on operation of the pumps and is sensitive to the issue of nearby basements flooding.”