Work is to start immediately on clearing a site in Amory, America, for a new bio-refinery for Southern Ethanol.

The company has bought the 156 acre site for $472,000 and says it's at 'third base' with plans to invest $85 million in a bio-refinery. Construction of the refinery may begin in about two months if financing on the project closes. Engineering has already begun.

The plant will take around a year to construct and the company is aiming to begin production by late 2006.

Loans have been agreed and the company is optimistic final financing can be arranged with the current upturn in the ethanol market.

The American Congress is currently debating an energy bill which could increase ethanol use in gasoline. If this is passed, it would really 'make this plant go' said Mike Ferree, managing member of Southern Ethanol.

He added that the aim is to hit the 2006 corn season as the facility will use corn to produce the ethanol, but even if the plant is not ready, corn will be bought and put it in storage in anticipation of the facility being ready.

If built, the plant will be the first ethanol producer in the south eastern part of the states and the closest to Atlanta.

Other products will also be produced – between seven and nine different by-products can be created through the refining process including carbon dioxide for which BOC Gases has signed a 20-year contract to buy all the gas produced by the plant.

BOC would invest around $7.5 million in Amory which would include building a facility to refine the gas and market it to other companies.

Amory was chosen in preference to several other sites around Mississippi as it met criteria such as adequate transportation and power. The city of Amory is currently constructing a new substation to meet Southern Ethanol and BOC's needs.

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