Who's Who In The Canadian Ethanol Biz

A brief overview of where all this corn oil will come from.

Commercial Alcohols Inc. is Canada's largest producer of ethanol. Already with Ontario locations in Chatham and Tiverton, three more are planned. The first, in Varennes, Que., is expected to start operations late next year. It is bolstered by a long-term contract with Petro-Canada.

Farther west, in Lanigan, Sask., Pound-Maker Agventures Ltd. has run Canada's first integrated feedlot and ethanol plant since 1990. (Here, the high-protein grain byproduct is fed to cattle onsite.) Meanwhile, Permolex Ltd.'s modest 26-million-litre-per-year plant in Red Deer, Alta., opened in 1998 and plans to expand.

Husky Energy Inc. ( TSX: HSE), through subsidiaries, operates Canada's oldest plant in Minnedosa, Man. (but they plan to eventually replace it with one 13 times larger.) For now, Husky is focused on a modern plant in Lloydminster, Sask., scheduled to open in spring 2006.

Other ethanol plays yet to convert grain include Suncor Energy Inc. ( TSX: SU), which anticipates opening its 200-million-litre-per-year plant near Sarnia, Ont., next June. Ontario farming groups–Integrated Grain Processors Co-operative Inc. and Seaway Valley Farmers Energy Co-operative Inc.–plan to build in Brantford and Cornwall.

A common cost-saving measure is to retrofit abandoned factories. A former starch plant in Collingwood, Ont., will be reborn when Power Stream Energy Services Inc. finishes its retrofit. Companies are also planning to convert abandoned distilleries: for example, in Weyburn, Sask., NorAmera BioEnergy Corp. will be making fuel in a former whisky distillery by Christmas. Okanagan Biofuels Inc. in Kelowna, B.C., is spending an extra $50 million so waste water will fuel their plant, rather than natural gas. Last but not least, UCM Engineered Fuels plans Canada's largest plant in Barrie.