Abengoa plans temporary shutdown of two ethanol plants

Abengoa Bioenergy is set to temporarily shutdown ethanol production at its plants in Portales, New Mexico, and Colwich Kansas, both in the US, due to bad market conditions.

The company has announced that production will cease by the end of the year.

The Portales plant uses sorghum as its feedstock, while the Colwich plant uses both corn and sorghum.

Abengoa has other four ethanol plants in the US, in Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska.

Executive vice-president Christopher Standlee said that Abengoa has no current plans to alter production schedules at these plants.

"When it shuts down, the Portales plant - the only ethanol plant in New Mexico - will have operated for about the last year," Standlee said.

"The company has a maintenance plan to keep the plants in good condition and ready to restart quickly, as soon as market conditions allow."

The company also anticipated getting a higher value from the ethanol produced there due to the plant's efficient production set up and sorghum feedstock.

Abengoa said that its seventh ethanol production facility, a cellulosic ethanol plant Hugoton, Kansas, is still under construction.

The company announced in September that it had received its PSD Air Quality Construction Permit from Kansas.

According to Standlee, there is no change in the Hugoton plant schedule, and the company is still on track for a late 2013 start-up.