Business Briefs

News and business announcements from the November issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, including newly proposed biofuels legislation, developments at Green Plains Inc., Lallemand's new fermentation tech, ICM's APP installation, and new USGC efforts.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | October 27, 2020

Next Generation Fuels Act introduced

In September, Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act, which would establish a minimum octane standard for gasoline and require sources of added octane to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 percent when compared to baseline gasoline. The bill would limit the use of harmful aromatics in gasoline; require the U.S. EPA to create a new 98 research octane number; and update fuel and infrastructure regulations to expand the availability of mid-level ethanol blends, including an E30 waiver.

The proposal was met mostly with support from the ethanol industry. The American Coalition for Ethanol, while praising elements of the bill, referred to its carbon accounting language as “flawed” and divergent with investments ethanol plants have already made to reduce their carbon intensity.


Wagner appointed to Green Plains board of directors

Green Plains Inc. announced in early October that its board of directors appointed Kimberly Wagner as an independent director. Wagner is the founder of TBGD Partners, which provides operational and product development expertise to early and mid-stage ventures in the agribusiness, food and life sciences sectors. She is the board’s eleventh director.

“Kim brings over two decades of experience working with agribusiness, food and ingredient companies in the areas of strategy, technology, sustainability and innovation,” said Wayne Hoovestol, chairman of the board of Green Plains.

Green Plains President and CEO Todd Becker added, “Kim’s expertise is exactly what we were looking for as we transform the company to produce and deliver sustainable proteins and novel ingredients to help meet the growing global demand in human and animal nutrition.”


Green Plains moves diversification quest forward   

Green Plains Wood River LLC, a 121 MMgy ethanol plant in south-central Nebraska, has broken ground on the installation of a high-protein production facility utilizing Fluid Quip Technologies’ patented MSC technology. It’s the second installation of the technology across Green Plains’ platform, and it’s being done while the facility pursues USP-grade alcohol.

“The addition of high-protein  production using Fluid Quip’s MSC technology was the next logical step in the transformation of Wood River to a modern, sustainable, agricultural biorefinery,” said President and CEO Todd Becker, explaining that the plant also has the ability to produce 25 MMgy of high-purity, industrial B-grade alcohol, and a goal of meeting USP specifications in early 2021.


Lallemand launches new fermentation technology

Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits has introduced a next-generation advanced yeast and enzyme platform called Convergence. The platform has been developed to generate increased profitability for North American biofuel producers by providing a step-change improvement in ethanol production cost economics. Convergence combines a new yeast that generates virtually all the glucoamylase (GA) required for fermentation combined with a small amount of complementary exogenous enzyme.

Convergence is the result of biotechnology that enables yeast strains to express much higher levels of GA than was previously possible. Now, according to Lallemand, all of the enzymes required for fermentation can be delivered through two components: its TransFerm CV5 genetically modified yeast, and Alcolase 146, its high-performance glucoamylase blend.


Novozymes launches corn fiber-to-ethanol platform

Novozymes recently launched Fiberex, a comprehensive platform based on novel enzymes and yeast strains to convert corn fiber into ethanol. Fiberex is specifically aimed at breaking down tough fibers in corn, providing producers with greater operational flexibility. The technology converts corn fiber into high-value, low-carbon fuel while also enabling the production of significantly more corn oil.

“Through advanced biology, biofuel producers looking to diversify can now unlock new markets and avenues of profitability,” says Brian Brazeau, Novozymes’ vice president for bioenergy. “Working with Novozymes and our expert analytics and engineering partners, producers can use Fiberex technology to transform their corn fiber, typically only used for animal feed, into low-carbon, high-value cellulosic ethanol.” 


ICM completes APP installation at Prairie Horizon

ICM Inc. has completed the first installation of its proprietary Advanced Processing Package at Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy LLC in Phillipsburg, Kansas.

The technology provider says APP enables ethanol plants to diversify their product offerings and boost revenue. The package includes four proprietary ICM technologies: Selective Milling Technology, Fiber Separation Technology, Feed Optimization Technology and Thin Stillage Solids Separation System. It will give Prairie Horizon the capability to produce yeast-enriched 50 percent protein feed while making the plant more energy efficient.

“We recognize that diversifying our product offering is key to revenue growth for our plant,” said Joe Kreutzer, general manager for Prairie Horizon. “This package efficiently enables us to add a higher-value animal feed to our product offerings and allows us the opportunity to enter new markets.”


USGC advances DDGS use in aquaculture

The U.S. Grains Council is edging closer to its goal of creating over 1 million metric tons of new demand for U.S. distillers grains in Southeast Asia by targeting the aquafeed industry. Through public and private research partnerships, the USGC reported in September that ideal DDGS formulations for aquafeed are being established, clearing a path for the coproduct’s use in shrimp and tilapia diets.

To support the utility of DDGS for these uses, the USGC has partnered with Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries while also working with private industry partners in the region. “DDGS show very good value in least-cost formulation programs as a feed ingredient for lower crude protein feeds such as tilapia,” said Ronnie Tan, USGC aquaculture consultant in Southeast Asia. “Factors including xanthophyll and phosphorus availability also may make DDGS attractive to higher value species like shrimp.”

Aquaculture is a large and growing industry. In 2019, 6.5 million tons of tilapia and 3.8 million tons of shrimp were produced globally. “The major constraint to DDGS use in aqua is not fear of trying, but the general unsureness of maximum allowable levels,” said Caleb Wurth, USGC assistant director of Southeast Asia. “Without this data, it would be unfeasible for us to consult and promote DDGS for aquafeed.”