A former ethanol plant in Grafton has sold at auction for $525,000.
The Grand Forks Herald reports the Alchem Ltd. plant was sold Wednesday to Jim Borchart, owner of New Germany, Minn.-based Borchart Steel Inc.
The plant's new owner said a decision about whether to reopen the plant won't be made until next year.
"I think there's a good chance," Borchart said. "Everything is there. It just has to be reconfigured, lined up and run properly."
Borchart said this is the fifth ethanol plant he has purchased during the past two decades, although he no longer owns any of the others. He also works to find other uses for the facilities.
"We do this all the time, update equipment and reconfigure it to make it usable for another product," he said. "You've got to be very careful. You have to try not to modify it too much, because the cost might exceed its value."
The facility opened in 1983 to manufacture potato flakes but converted to an ethanol plant two years later. It produced more than 10 million gallons of ethanol a year before operations were suspended in October 2007. At the time, Alchem's president, Harold Newman, cited the high cost of corn and low prices for ethanol as the reason for the closure.
When it closed in 2007, Alchem had more than 30 employees.
Information from: Grand Forks Herald, http://www.grandforksherald.com