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An aerial view of the ethanol plant near Hankinson. Photo courtesy of Hankinson Renewable Energy.

An aerial view of the ethanol plant near Hankinson. Photo courtesy of Hankinson Renewable Energy.

Biofuel production has grown in North Dakota in recent years, with the addition of five biofuel facilities in the last ten years.  North Dakota corn-based ethanol facilities have the capacity to produce a combined total of nearly 450 million gallons of ethanol each year.  The North Dakota Ethanol Council estimates that 156 million bushels of corn are utilized in the state each year to produce ethanol. North Dakota is also home to a canola-based biodiesel facility at Velva. This ADM facility has a production capacity of 85 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Strides are also being made in the development of the next generation of technologies and feedstocks for the biofuels industry.  Researchers at North Dakota State University estimate that bioenergy production could contribute an estimated $800 million in direct annual economic activity in the state. Biofuel producers are eligible for several state incentive programs, including the Ethanol Production Incentive Program and the Biofuels PACE Program.

Fast Facts

North Dakota’s five ethanol plants have an annual production capacity of nearly 440 million gallons per year – a more than ten-fold increase since 2005.

The state’s ethanol industry generates more than $640 million in economic activity each year and directly employs almost 230 workers across the state with an average annual wage of $64,000.

Approximately 10 percent of the ethanol produced annually in North Dakota is blended with gasoline and sold within the state. The remaining 90 percent is shipped primarily to the east or west coasts.

In a modern ethanol facility, one bushel of corn produces 2.8 gallons of ethanol, 18 pounds of livestock feed (DDGs), and 18 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Facilities – Ethanol

Plant Location Employees Ethanol Capacity (million gallons) Corn Used (million bushels) DDG (tons)
Blue Flint Ethanol Underwood 40 65 23 190,000
Hankinson Renewable Energy, LLC Hankinson 51 130 46 395,000
Red Trail Energy, LLC Richardton 42 50 18 125,000
Tharaldson Ethanol Casselton 54 130 46 395,000
Dakota Spirit AgEnergy Spiritwood 40 65 23 190,000
Totals 227 440 156 1,295,000


Idle Facilities – Ethanol Alchem (10.5 mmgy) ADM -Walhalla (25 mmgy)

Biodiesel Facilities ADM – Velva (85 mmgy)