Business Briefs

By Staff | July 24, 2015

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently recognized the professionals behind the lab’s greatest achievements for the past year. Min Zhang was named distinguished innovator for her work to support the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technology Program by engineering advanced microbes to further the adoption of cellulosic biofuels. Zhang has contributed 80 peer-reviewed papers, numerous meeting abstracts, and 21 issued patents. She helped transfer foundational biotechnologies to companies with three commercial licenses incorporating her innovations, including DuPont’s cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa. 

Arisdyne Systems Inc. has announced that Ryan Heuer, a 15-year ethanol industry veteran, will contribute additional technical sales and business development expertise to the company and take the lead coordinating and directing current Controlled Flow Cavitation solutions for starch and corn fiber conversion initiatives to the ethanol market. Prior to joining Arisdyne Systems, Heuer worked in plant operations at the High Plains plant in Colwich, Kansas, followed by 10 years with Novozymes, with an interim three years at ICM marketing and selling large-capital, new technology equipment. 

Norfolk Southern Corp. has recognized 66 customers with its Thoroughbred Chemical Safety Award for 2014, including Abengoa Bioenergy of Illinois’ Granite City, Illinois, plant, Cargill Inc., Green Plains Renewable Energy, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy LLC, and Valero Energy Corp.  

Godavari Biorefineries Ltd., an India-based manufacturer of foods, biofuels, specialty chemicals, power and related products using sugarcane as the primary feedstock, recently announced that it has raised $15 million in equity from funds managed by Mandala Capital. The investment is part of Godavari’s strategy to enhance returns by strengthening the portfolio of higher-margin products to address the significant and growing demand for chemical products made from renewable feedstock. Funds invested by Mandala Capital will support the development of a new manufacturing plant for specialty chemicals, increased ethanol production capacity, debottlenecking of existing plants, and strengthening the company’s utility infrastructure. It will also fund an expanded facility for research and development. 

The Renewable Fuels Association has been awarded the 2014 TRANSCAER Achievement Award. This is the third year in a row that RFA has been awarded this honor as it continues working to ensure first responders have the proper training and resources to respond to ethanol-related emergencies. The award is given to recognize the achievements of individuals, companies, and organizations which have gone beyond the normal call of duty to advocate, demonstrate and implement the principles of TRANSCAER. TRANSCAER is a volunteer coalition that works to ensure our nation’s emergency responders are educated with the most up-to-date information to ensure they and their communities are prepared to handle hazardous material disasters.

Sweden-based Taurus Energy AB and Canadian-based Lallemand have signed an agreement for collaboration with respect to the development, marketing, sale and licensing of Taurus' Gen 2 XyloFerm yeast platform on the U.S. market.

Ag Growth International Inc. has announced the previously disclosed arrangement to acquire the Westeel division of Vicwest Inc. was completed in May. Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Westeel provides grain storage solutions offering a wide range of on-farm and commercial products for the agricultural industry.

Aras recently announced Poet LLC has selected the Aras PLM Solution Suite to drive product development and engineering best practices, improve processes and product tracking, and improve visibility into product-related data throughout the enterprise and extended supply chain. Poet will implement Aras as an integral part of its product development processes, tracking product and process data and ensuring visibility to all participants in the process.

The USDA has announced the appointment of Seth Meyer as the World Agricultural Outlook Board chairman. Meyer previously served as senior economist with the Office of Chief Economist on assignment to WAOB. Meyer will be responsible for the monthly forecasts of the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report and the work of the Joint Agricultural Weather Facility. Meyer will also serve as Program Chairman for USDA’s largest annual meeting, the Agricultural Outlook Forum. Meyer joined USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist in 2013 as a senior economist for domestic agricultural policy. Prior to joining USDA, he spent the previous two years as a part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in the Global Perspectives Studies Unit. Meyer also spent 12 years as a researcher and faculty member with the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. has appointed Jeff Ewing as director of risk management, marketing for the company’s four ethanol plants, including two in Pekin, Illinois, and two in Aurora, Nebraska. Ewing began his career in commodities in 1980, and has been in the wet milling and ethanol industry as a supply chain manager and director of risk management since 2005. Most recently, Ewing served as director of trading and hedging with Abengoa Bioenergy in Chesterfield, Missouri, from 2011 to 2015. His prior involvement in the ethanol and wet milling industry also included serving as director of supply chain for Roquette America Inc. in Keokuk, Iowa, from 2006 to 2008, and as director of risk management for Hawkeye Energy in Ames, Iowa, from 2008 to 2011.

Gevo Inc. has entered into an agreement with FCStone Merchant Services LLC to originate and supply corn for its plant in Luverne, Minnesota. Engaging FCStone to conduct Gevo’s corn purchasing at Luverne is expected to free up more than $1 million of working capital, which has previously been tied up in corn inventory. 

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials kicked off its annual General Assembly meeting with a delegation vote on the new “Low iLUC Risk Biomass Criteria and Compliance Indicators.” The standard was approved by consensus and will be an optional module for operations undergoing RSB certification.

Bruce Jamerson has joined Ensyn Corp.’s board of directors. He will represent Ensyn’s Preferred A shareholders, replacing Bill Weld, who continue to serve on the board, having been elected to do so by Ensyn’s shareholders in the last annual general meeting. Jamerson has served as chairman and CEO of Mascoma Corp. and was president and a board member of VeraSun Energy Corp. He is currently president of Conifer Investments LLC and holds board positions with Benson Hill Biosystems and Novita LLC.