Lake Preston is about to get a big 21st-century employer—a one-billion-dollar refinery that will make jet fuel from local corn ethanol:
Gevo is a Colorado-based renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company.
The company has purchased 245 acres of land near Lake Preston where it plans to build what it calls a Net-Zero 1 plant, which will produce jet fuel.
An ethanol distillery will be accompanied by a plant that can turn ethanol into jet fuel, said Pat Gruber, CEO of Gevo, Inc. The Net-Zero 1 plant will produce energy-dense liquid hydrocarbon.
…The plant will produce 54 million gallons of jet fuel a year using 37 million bushels of corn, Gruber said [Kerry Kulkarni, “$1 Billion Zero-Emissions Hydrocarbon Plant Planned for Lake Preston Will Produce Jet Fuel,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.08.08].
According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Kingsbury County produced 22.3 million bushels of corn last year. Lake County produced 16.0 million bushels of corn. Together those two counties could just barely meet Gevo’s supply needs.
Gevo also plans to build a 20-turbine wind farm to power the jet fuel plant and further reduce its carbon footprint. Gevo plans to break ground in September and start harvesting wind and corn power and bring about 80 jobs to Lake Preston in two years.