Business Briefs

Ethanol industry announcements from the September issue of Ethanol Producer Magazine, including USGC's newly elected chairman, CHS' E15 terminal expansion, Gevo's resumption of isobutanol production, and Tharaldson's adoption of high-protein tech.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | August 26, 2021

Willis elected U.S. Grains Council chairman
The delegates of the U.S. Grains Council elected Chad Willis, a Minnesota farmer representing the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council, as chairman of its board of directors at its annual meeting in early August.

“I was drawn to the council because I need dependable markets to sustain my farming operation,” Willis said. “But as I’ve served the council and, as I’ve been able to see firsthand by traveling to other countries, it’s a two-way street. To be successful, we need each other.”

Willis has been farming since 1997 and has worked in both the corn milling and feed industries. He is a vocal advocate for ethanol and ethanol coproducts.

“As we recognize the importance of our grain markets, we must continue to build on our value-added markets for DDGS and ethanol. The value of global trade has so much potential if we work together to access them.”

CHS expands E15 availability with 19 more terminals
CHS Inc. is now offering E15 at 19 additional fuel terminals.

The agribusiness cooperative, which owns ethanol plants in Rochelle and Annawan, Illinois, is registered with the U.S. EPA as an E15 manufacturer and sells E15 as an approved grade of fuel through its Cenex retail locations. In total, CHS is now offering E15 at 29 Magellan, Nustar and CHS terminals across eight Midwest states.

“As the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, expanding options for ethanol blended fuel is important for our Cenex brand retailers and our farmer-owners,” said Akhtar Hussain, CHS’ director of refined fuels marketing. “CHS has always been committed to offering ethanol blended flexible fuels throughout its network of 1,450 Cenex brand retail facilities. We continue to demonstrate this commitment by working with our terminal partners to offer higher ethanol blends in a broader geography across the Cenex retail network.”

Former Minnesota ethanol plant resumes isobutanol production
Gevo Inc. has announced that operations at its advanced biofuel plant in Luverne, Minnesota, have recommenced. The Luverne facility was originally built as an ethanol plant but later converted to produce fuel-grade, renewable isobutanol (IBA).

The IBA produced in Luverne will be used as a feedstock for Gevo to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable premium gasoline, which will be produced at a refinery Silsbee, Texas. Gevo also expects to utilize some of the IBA for specialty products.

"We are getting geared up for what will be the next stage of Gevo’s growth which is coming at us at an accelerated rate,” said Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber. “We are leveraging our existing Luverne location to optimize conversion of our isobutanol production to develop the standard in operating discipline for efficient and safe IBA production facilities.”

Green Plains, Tharaldson Ethanol partner on high protein project
Green Plains Inc. has formed a 50/50 joint venture with Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota, to own and operate a Fluid Quip Technologies’ MSC system. The 175 MMgy Tharaldson plant will produce 105,000 tons of Ultra-High Protein as well as post-MSC distillers grains.

Green Plains is now offering the technology to exclusive industry partners and will provide up to half of the necessary capital, project management support and more.

“As Green Plains’ facilities fully transform into the model biorefineries of the future, we are offering the industry an opportunity to innovate with us through these turnkey solutions,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO. “We believe this is truly the most disruptive event in this industry since its inception and feel strongly that these aligned partnerships will maximize the technology’s potential.”

Fagen Inc. is the general contractor on the project, which is expected to be completed in 2022, preceding additional MSC installations at multiple Green Plains plants.