The nation’s largest, new-technology, dry-grind ethanol plant began operations last week in Aurora, South Dakota.

The VeraSun Energy Corporation plant will produce 100 million gallons of ethanol and 320,000 tons of distillers dried grains annually. The plant is a state-of-the-art facility, designed to lower the energy use and production costs associated with ethanol production, company officials said.

Initially slated to begin operations in March, 2004, the plant opened less than 11 months from the close of financing. “We are very pleased to announce the early startup of the plant. This facility will create the largest new corn market in the region while increasing America’s energy security by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Every gallon of ethanol we ship from this plant represents one less gallon of gasoline this nation will import from abroad. We look forward to working with the industry to continue the advances in production efficiencies and market development for renewable fuels,” said CEO Don Endres.