Posted by Anne Decker
Guardian Lima Ethanol is an industry leader.
The Guardian Lima ethanol plant grinds 420 acres of corn every day. "We take one bushel of corn and turn that into 3 gallons of ethanol, 15 pounds of distillers grain and one pound of corn oil," says Plant Manager Jack Wolfcale. Wolfcale told us that a bushel of corn is valued at $3.90. Once Guardian has processed that bushel, the finished products are worth $5.10.
The plant sources its corn from Allen County and 17 surrounding counties from 1,200 producers. "Ethanol is a product of fermentation. Corn is the feed stock that we use. We take that corn and break it down into glucose and we feed it to the yeast." The resulting ethanol is the same as you find in beer, wine, whiskey and hand sanitizer. Wolfcale says the main difference in the products is that it is purified to different levels. "What makes ethanol great? Energy independence. Every year we're making 15.8 billion  gallons of ethanol that goes into the fuel market. We are offsetting the need to import oil." Wolfcale says ethanol also benefits the environment by helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
Wolfcale told us that thanks to technology and operational improvements, the Lima plant has seen a tremendous increase in efficiencies and output, making it one of the higher performing ethanol plants in the country. It has 45 employees.