FUEL starts production

Published 1:49 pm Friday, October 17, 2008

According to a recent news release, Southwest Georgia Ethanol LLC, a FUEL company, initiated its first grind on Oct. 10 in Mitchell County.

This marked the beginning of production of the only 100-million gallon per year ethanol facility in the southeastern United States.

First grind involves feeding the corn through the hammer mills, starting it on the way to conversion into alcohol. The ethyl alcohol is then denatured with gasoline to render it undrinkable, resulting in ethanol for blending.

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The concentrated corn mash is fed through a drying process that results in valuable feed products for livestock and poultry.

The idea for this project originated with Marilyn Royal, executive director of the Mitchell County Development Authority in December 2004. From there, First United Ethanol LLC was formed as the parent company for Southwest Georgia Ethanol LLC, a FUEL company.

FUEL received more than $75 million from its 850 plus investors with the majority of those living in Georgia and Florida.

Construction on the facility began May 18, 2007. The first corn came by truck on Sept. 12, 2008, and the first 90-car unit train arrived Sept. 21, bringing with it more than 300,000 bushels of corn.

At first grind, SWGE had received 1.2 million bushels of corn via train and delivery of local corn grown in Georgia.

Murray Campbell, CEO of FUEL, said “Today is the culmination of some extraordinary efforts of a lot of people.”

Chairman of FUEL, Tommy Dollar, commented on the first grind saying, “With the uncertainty of our economy and the recent fuel shortages in the United States and more specifically, the Southeast, now more than ever we need to become more energy independent. Income from taxes from the sales of our homegrown fuels can only help offset the current budget shortfalls the federal government and states are experiencing at this time. … As the first destination plant in the Southeast, we are pioneers who will pave the road for biofuels production in this region.”

New Businesses:

The City of Bainbridge has issued the following new occupational tax certificate:

• Time Stopper, Sherrie Trejo, 112 Croley Road, Bainbridge.

Carolyn Iamon can be reached by e-mail at carolyn.iamon@thepostsearchlight.com, or telephone at (229) 246-2827, Ext. 134.