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Meetings set to raise money for ethanol plant

Energae LP will conduct investor meetings Wednesday in Grafton, N.D., to raise money for the fall reopening of the community's ethanol plant, which will process sugar beets, instead of corn.

The meetings will be at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Marketplace on 8th, a downtown restaurant and meeting facility.

"We are moving forward," said Jerry Krause, a general partner in Energae, which announced this week that it is buying the former Alchem ethanol plant.

The meetings are open to sugar beet growers and others interested in the business, he said.

The Iowa-based company plans to refurbish the Grafton facility in the next few months and reopen by fall. Alchem, which opened in 1985, had about 30 employees when it closed in 2007.

Energae currently operates another plant, Permeate Refining, in Hopkinton, Iowa. It produces ethanol from a variety of sources, including corn syrup, corn starch, cheese byproduct whey and paper products, according to Krause.

The Iowa plant is about half the size of the 10-million-gallon Grafton facility, and was designed by the same German company as the Alchem plant.

Krause said the Grafton plant likely will operate under the Permeate name.

The Hopkinton plant employs about 20.

Kevin Bonham is a reporter

at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.