By Ryan Randazzo | The Republic
A front-end loader growls as it lifts a load of dusty ground corn into a pile while nearby fermenting tanks brew a batch of renewable fuel.
The Pinal Energy plant in Maricopa, about 30 miles south of downtown Phoenix, is the only one of its kind in Arizona. The plant is back in production, making about 50 million gallons of ethanol per year, after a shutdown for more than a year between 2012 and 2014.
The operators of Arizona Grain opened the $74 million plant in 2007. Arizona Grain already was the largest grain handler in the state, and company officials saw ethanol as a natural extension.