Business Briefs

By Staff | November 19, 2015

Randall Doyal, general manager and CEO at Al-Corn Clean Fuel, Claremont, Minnesota, was re-elected to chair the board of directors of the Renewable Fuels Association at its annual membership meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. The membership also elected Mick Henderson, Commonwealth Energy in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, as its vice chairman; Jim Seurer, Glacial Lakes Energy LLC in Watertown, South Dakota, treasurer; and Bob Dinneen, RFA, Washington, D.C. president.
Anita Maher-Lewis has been hired as the renewable fuels standard (RFS) program manager at EcoEngineers. She will oversee the compliance program, including RFS registration, renewable identification number (RIN) management and quality assurance programs. She has over 20 years of experience in the environmental and regulatory arena. Prior to joining EcoEngineers, she managed a team of engineers and geologists in a consulting engineering firm working with clients such as Quik Trip, Casey’s and Hy-Vee.

Ruth Dreessen has been named the new chairman of the board for Gevo Inc., replacing Shai Weiss, who has stepped down from the board. Dreessen, a director since 2012, will remain a member of the audit committee, although director Gary Mize will replace her as chairman. Dreessen has 25 years of experience in the chemicals industry and has served on the boards of several public companies. She is currently on the board of Targa Resource Partners LP and is a managing director of Lion Chemical Capital, a private equity firm focused on the chemical industry.
Two ethanol producers recently joined the U.S. Grains Council, KAAPA Ethanol LLC, Minden, Nebraska, and Granite Falls Energy LLC, Granite Falls, Minnesota. Other ethanol-industry firms to become new members are Illinois-based DDGS trader Translink Grains Inc. and Texas-headquartered logistics and risk management firm Murex LLC.  

DuPont Industrial Biosciences and Quad County Corn Processors announced a multiyear contract for the use of the DuPont suite of Optimash enzymes designed for cellulosic conversion. The enzymes are specifically formulated for use in the Galva, Iowa-based 35 MMgy ethanol producer’s corn fiber cellulosic ethanol process.
Michigan Biotechnology Institute announced it has received a patent for innovations in its biomass pretreatment process. The new patented process enables low-cost production of AFEX pretreated biomass, while cost-effectively recycling and reusing the catalyst. Using the technology first developed by a team led by Bruce Dale at Michigan State University, MBI recently achieved the milestone of producing more than 500 batches totaling 15 tons of AFEX pretreated biomass at MBI’s 1-ton-per-day pilot facility in Lansing, Michigan. 
Syngenta announced it has signed agreements with 16 ethanol plants to use Enogen grain, representing a combined capacity of more than 1 billion gallons. The hybrid corn containing alpha amylase enzymes was grown on approximately 225,000 acres this year and is expected to top 400,000 acres next year. The company reports growers who plant Enogen earn an average premium of 40 cents per bushel. For the ethanol producer, the enzyme-containing corn reduces the viscosity of the corn mash and increases solids loading that can result in cost savings. 

Jan TenBensel, a Cambridge, Nebraska, farmer, was appointed by Gov. Pete Ricketts to serve a four-year term on the Nebraska Ethanol Board. He replaces Steve Hanson, Elsie, Nebraska, as a wheat production representative on the board. Established in 1971, the seven-member board includes four active farmers, one labor representative, one petroleum marketer and one business representative.

Renewable Energy Group Inc., through its subsidiary REG Synthetic Fuels LLC, received bankruptcy court approval to purchase equipment at the KiOR Columbus LLC production facility in Mississippi, including a 12 million-gallon hydrotreating unit, distillation column and tankage. KiOR’s 15 MMgy facility was designed to produce cellulosic gasoline and diesel from Southern Yellow Pine. 

Novozymes has launched a new enzyme for the ethanol process. Liquozyme LpH is an alpha-amylase effective at low pH that thins the mash by breaking down starch into shorter dextrin chains. A more fluid mash ensures more efficient operational performance for ethanol producers running their production at low pH. Plant trials have shown improved viscosity levels and liquefaction, enabling customers to reduce their use of chemicals for pH adjustment. 
Joule Unlimited Inc. announced its fuel-grade, trademarked Sunflow-E ethanol has been registered by the U.S. EPA for commercial use in E10 and E15 blends. Earlier this year, the company announced successful third-party testing had found the fuel conforms with ASTM D4806, the standard for ethanol to be blended with gasolines, as well as the European EN 15376. Joule converts carbon dioxide to ethanol directly in a continuous process, using engineered bacteria. This summer, the company received a favorable review from the U.S. EPA on its Microbial Commercial Activity Notice. The company notes this is the first time the EPA has allowed the commercial use of a modified cyanobacterium.      

Pat Bowe is succeeding Mike Anderson as president and CEO of The Andersons Inc., effective Nov. 2. Formerly corporate vice president of Cargill Inc. for the food ingredient and systems platform, Bowe has more than 35 years of experience in the agricultural sector. Anderson, grandson of the company’s founder, will continue as chairman of the board.  
Algenol LLC is partnering with Fujian Zhongyuan New Energy Co. Ltd. to develop projects in Southern China, utilizing carbon emissions to create renewable fuels. Algenol’s patented technology process can utilize industrial CO2 emissions from power plants as a feedstock for proprietary algae to produce  renewable transportation fuels (ethanol, gas, diesel and jet). ZYNE’s expertise is in delivery renewable fuels.