Texas group buys ethanol plant

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

A Dallas-based partnership, SOZO Energy, LP, and the Tucumcari Greater Economic Development Corp. (TGED) inked a deal on Aug. 25 for SOZO to purchase the ethanol plant on Rock Island Road, said a SOZO company official on Thursday.

“SOZO will produce up to 10 million gallons of ethanol per year at the plant,” said Rochelle Heussmann, director of Sozo’s environmental safety and health.

Heussmann is part of an advance ethanol team for SOZO Energy that was at the plant on Thursday checking out valves, fittings, piping and other operations at the facility.

The plant is expected to be operational in the spring of next year, she said.

Heussmann said the plant would employ between 20 and 25 people.

The plant’s current output is three million gallons of ethanol per year and that will be increased to 10 million gallons, Heussmann said.

The plant will be named Route 66 Ethanol, LLC, she said.
“It will serve as an ethanol research and development facility for the ethanol industry,” Heussmann said.

Heussmann and Pete Kampfer, TGED’s executive director, declined to disclose the purchase price or the terms of the agreement between the two parties.

The TGED, which took over the plant’s ownership in the early 1990s, had put out a request for proposal to purchase the plant and TGED’s board decided that SOZO looked like the best candidate, Kampfer said.

Heussmann said more details about the plant’s operations would be available at a later date.

Heussmann and her husband, Walter Heussman who serves as director of research and operations, have a minority ownership in the privately held SOZO Energy, which has its headquarters in Plano, Texas.