Carbery's ethanol plant to reopen in November
Carbery's large ethanol distillation plant at Ballineen in west Cork is expected to be up and running again within six to eight weeks, according to management.
The 90ft tall facility threatened to become a fireball three weeks ago when a blaze erupted on the roof. However, the fire was contained within an hour, preventing the accident turning into a major incident.
As investigations into what caused the fire continue, attentions are focusing on the possibility of alcohol having leaked on to light-fittings installed on the building's top level.
Management dismissed the possibility of the damage spurring a major revamp on either the facility or system of production at the plant.
"We don't expect it to cost more than €1-2m to fix up, and there's too much investment tied up in that unit to be thinking of walking away from it," said Carbery's commercial manager JJ Walsh.
Despite the unit requiring minimal investment and upgrading over the years, Mr Walsh said that the non-return valves, where excess alcohol is burnt off, had performed "remarkably well" and possibly saved the entire plant.
Mr Walsh added that they had been fortunate in the timing of the incident, when the plant was processing a fraction of what it handles during the peak milk production months of May and June.