Ethanol Pioneer Dies

Cindy Zimmerman

Don EvansOne of the original ethanol visionaries has passed away, but the plant he helped to build in 1984 continues to operate.

The Washington Post today published the obituary of Donald Evans, a Washington area lawyer and “70s ethanol pioneer,” as the headline reads. In 1980, he and other partners formed New Energy Inc. of Indiana to build a $185 million ethanol production plant in South Bend, Ind.

Much of their construction expense was covered by an Energy Department loan guarantee through the federal alcohol fuels program, and the plant became operational by 1984.

Mr. Evans, who served as chief operating officer, weathered a volatile business climate as oil prices and public outcry for alternative energies declined substantially. He sold his interest in 1990 and went on to other business ventures, even as New Energy continued to operate.

Evans died Jan. 5 of head injuries sustained in a 2005 boating accident.

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