Business Briefs

FROM THE MARCH ISSUE: New head of Syngenta's Enogen business, a major milestone for Badger State Ethanol, ACE appoints director of member and industry relations, Kemin welcomes new hires, and Aemetis receives grants.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | February 14, 2020

Cook leads Enogen business

Chris Cook is the new head of the Enogen business for Syngenta. Enogen technology is an in-seed innovation that enhances ethanol production and feed efficiency by delivering alpha amylase enzyme directly in the grain while offering growers the opportunity to earn a premium for an identity preserved crop.

Cook earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from South Dakota State University Brookings. He joined the Enogen team in 2015 heading up stewardship and stakeholder relations. Cook has been with Syngenta for 21 years.


Badger State produces 1 billion gallons

Badger State Ethanol in Monroe, Wisconsin, recently produced its 1 billionth gallon of ethanol. The 85 MMgy plant began production in October 2002.

“I thank all of the investors who have believed in us, the community that supports us, the consumers who buy our end products, in both ethanol and feed, and the organizations that support the agenda that helps make this possible,” said Erik Huschitt, BSE CEO and general manager. “We certainly didn’t do this alone, and we express our gratitude to all of those who helped us reach this milestone.”

“RFA applauds Badger State on this important milestone and its longtime commitment to the industry,” said Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO. “All those involved in the operation, from investors to staff, should be very proud of the hard work they all put into a facility that supports the community around them. The company supports dozens of good jobs, adds value to locally grown crops, and plays an important role in providing consumers with cleaner and more affordable fuels at the pump.”


ACE appoints Fosheim as director of member and industry relations 

The American Coalition for Ethanol has appointed Nick Fosheim, former executive director of South Dakota’s Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations, to serve as director of member and industry relations at the organization’s office based in Sioux Falls.

ACE CEO Brian Jennings says Fosheim’s experience coordinating business attraction and retention efforts and connecting community organizations and staff to development resources makes him a natural fit to enrich current relationships with the organization’s members and other constituencies, as well as expand ACE’s diverse membership base to support its efforts in building market demand for ethanol.

“We are excited Nick Fosheim is bringing his ability to connect people across multiple platforms and his enthusiasm for ag and advocacy to the ACE team,” Jennings said. “Having worked in a membership-based environment, Nick will hit the ground running to advance relationships with ACE’s current and potential members, industry partners and supporting organizations, while developing new strategies to promote our efforts throughout the industry.”

“People are at the heart of what drives ACE,” Fosheim said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know ACE members and connecting with the people who power this grassroots organization over the coming months.”


Kemin adds to biofuels business

Kemin Industries, a global ingredient manufacturer, has expanded its Kemin Biofuels business with new hires.

Kenny Erdoes is vice president of corporate engineering. A U.S. Navy veteran and chemical engineer, Erdoes has significant experience starting up biodiesel plants and has previously worked for biodiesel companies.

Shweta Shah is scientific and regulatory affairs manager. Shah has over 15 years’ experience in biofuels and related studies and is a widely cited scientist. For her Master of Technology in Modern Methods of Chemical Analysis dissertation, she focused on optimizing the reaction conditions for biodiesel production from vegetable oils. Shah received both this degree and her doctorate in chemistry from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. She completed post-doctoral research at Iowa State University, followed by five years as a staff scientist.

Ye Lao is vice president of worldwide research and development. Lao has been with the company for more than 10 years. She began her Kemin career in research and development at Kemin Animal Nutrition and Health – China.  She then took on the role of vice president of marketing for the region, which was followed by her current role. Lao earned her doctorate degree in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and received an Executive Master of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

Matt Timm is plant manager. Before joining Kemin three years ago, Timm spent the bulk of his career at Red Star Yeast, beginning as a process shift supervisor and eventually becoming production manager.

“The biofuels industry is accelerating and has the capacity to make a positive impact on so many aspects of our daily lives and the future of our planet,” said Chris Nelson, president and CEO of Kemin.  “Because Kemin has decades of experiences with the same enzymes and antioxidants biofuels producers are using, we found this extraordinary synergy between our applied science and the interests of the biofuels industry. As we work to transform the quality of life, now is the time to grow our presence in an area that presents so much potential for beneficial change.”


Aemetis awarded $14 million in energy efficiency grants 

Aemetis Inc. subsidiary Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes Inc. in Keyes, California, has received two grants from the California Energy Commis­sion for a combined total of $14 million to implement upgrades that would reduce natural gas use, lower greenhouse gas emissions, decrease operating costs, and reduce the carbon intensity of fuel grade ethanol produced at the plant. The cost reduction and revenues increase associated with the upgrades are expected to improve the operating cash flow of the Keyes plant by $13 million each year.

Aemetis plans to install a 1.56-megawatt photovoltaic micro grid solar array with integrated battery energy storage and an AI-driven power distribution control system, which is expected to significantly reduce the natural gas currently used in generating on-site electricity. In addition, Aemetis plans to upgrade the facility’s evaporation and distillation units with a mechanical vapor recovery system to further reduce the use of natural gas, lowering carbon intensity and increasing expected plant production capacity by approximately 25 percent.

Aemetis will also administer a scholarship program that will fund 10 annual scholarships, at $3,000 each, aimed at mentoring local students in science, technology, engineering and math careers.

“Aemetis is implementing technologies that allow the traditional biofuels industry to enter a new era of improved operational efficiency and lower carbon intensity renewable fuel, which we expect will result in a significant reduction of carbon content in renewable energy,” said Eric McAfee, chairman and CEO of Aemetis Inc.  “When fully implemented at the Keyes plant, these projects are planned to result in a double-digit reduction in the carbon intensity of our ethanol and significantly improve our operating cash flow by more than an estimated $18 million per year, all while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and creating new jobs.  We are grateful to the California Energy Commission for their support and confidence, and we look forward to implementing these upgrade projects.”