Citing poor market conditions, the high price of corn and construction materials, agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. has cancelled plans for a Topeka, Kan. ethanol plant. Emerald Renewable Energy, a wholly-owned Cargill subsidiary, was to operate the plant which would have provided an annual capacity of 100 million gallons of ethanol and used nearly 40 million bushels of corn per year.

"Market conditions were not sufficiently favorable to move forward," Cargill spokesman Bill Brady said. The Topeka plant was one of four ethanol plants that Emerald Renewable Energy had set out to construct in the Midwest, increasing the company's ethanol delivery capacity to around 1 billion gallons.

"All of them are in the sighting and permitting stages, so we've suspended this one and we're continuing to market the other ones," Brady said, explaining the business proposition is locating sites and trying to attract investors while Cargill would provide service to the up-and-running facilities.

"I want to emphasize that Cargill is still in the ethanol business, and we have our own production expansion in Blair, Neb.," Brady said. "We have a corn milling process in which we make high fructose corn syrup, corn sweeteners and other products, including ethanol. There will be an expansion of ethanol capacity at that plant coming online later this year."