Business and People

By | October 06, 2009
>Joe Ayers has accepted the position of plant manager at Brock Grain Systems' Kansas City, Mo. Ayers has more than 18 years of manufacturing management experience and will be responsible for the daily operations of the plant, which produces on-farm and commercial grain storage products and accessories. Prior to joining the company, Ayers served as vice of president of operations at Continental Disc Inc.

Brock Grain Systems is a part of CTB Inc., a global designer, manufacturer and marketer of systems and solutions for agriculture and grain industries.

>New Hampshire-based cellulosic ethanol producer Mascoma Corp. has announced several management reconfigurations. Bruce Jamerson, who previously held the company's CEO position, will now serve as chairman of Mascoma and its Michigan-based subsidiary, Frontier Renewable Resources LLC. The company said Jamerson's new role will allow him to focus on the financing and deployment of the commercial-scale cellulosic production facility in Michigan as well as execute other strategic initiatives and partnerships.

Jim Flatt, executive vice president of R&D and operations, will serve as the company's interim president until a new CEO is hired.

>The American Coalition for Ethanol elected several new members to its board of directors during the group's 22nd annual Ethanol Conference & Trade Show Aug. 11-13 in Milwaukee, Wisc. Newly elected members include: Rand Hahn, CEO, the Renewable Products Marketing Group; Ron Alverson, chairman, Lake Area Corn Processors; Russ Newman, vice president, Tharaldson Ethanol; and Kirk Schaunaman, representative for the South Dakota Corn Utilization Council.
"ACE is proud to continue our unique mission of being the grassroots voice for ethanol. We're strengthening that position by adding these well-respected and independent voices to our board of directors," said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president.

>Winnebago, Minn.-based Corn Plus LLLP pled guilty in federal court Aug. 19 to violating the Clean Air Act by negligently discharging wastewater from its 49 MMgy production facility into a drain tile located on its property. According to the U.S. EPA, the drain tile emptied into the Rice Lake, which caused pollution in the lake. The violations occurred between 2005 and Aug. 2007.
The company cooperated with the federal government during a two-year investigation and agreed to pay a $100,000 fine as well as contribute $50,000 toward a Rice Lake environmental project and further enhance its own environmental compliance plan.

>The U.S. DOE has awarded a $750,000 grant to Oregon-based Trillium FiberFuels to commercialize its cellulosic ethanol technology, which utilizes an existing industrial enzyme, rather than genetically engineered microorganisms, to convert xylose from straw and other biomass materials to a fermentable sugar. The sugar can then be used to produce ethanol.
The grant was part of the DOE's Small Business Innovation Research Program and was granted to Trillium following two years of successful work by the company. The grant will be used toward Trillium's two-year plan to transition its technology from laboratory-scale to pilot-scale.

>Alfa Laval Group, a heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid-handling product manufacturing company, has acquired South Korea-based heat exchanger manufacturing company LHE Co. Ltd. Alfa Laval markets its products to ethanol producers, as well as to food and beverage manufacturers and chemical companies, and employs approximately 12,000 people worldwide.
"I'm very satisfied that we were able to acquire LHE, a well-managed company with strong presence in South Korea and with a large potential in Asia," said Lars Renstrm, president and CEO of Alfa Laval. "With the acquisition of LHE, the Alfa Laval Group achieves profitable growth by adding an independent channel to the heat exchanger market."

>Colorado-based advanced biofuel company Gevo Inc. recently named Jack Huttner as executive vice president of commercial and public affairs. In his new position, Huttner will be responsible for external affairs, including trade, media and government relations. Prior to joining Gevo, Huttner served as vice president of commercial and public affairs at Dupont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol and as vice president of biorefinery businesses development at Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S. Huttner was also instrumental in forming the industrial section of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and was appointed co-chair of the Bioenergy Technology Advisory Committee by the Clinton administration, where he oversaw the federal government's $300 million bioenergy research and development budget.

>Glacial Lakes Energy LLC has sold 2,000 units of its ownership share in Granite Falls Energy LLC, a Minnesota-based ethanol plant, to Fagen Inc. The sale was completed in August. Prior to the sale, Glacial Lakes Energy owned 21 percent of the facility. The company now retains approximately 15 percent of the plant's ownership.

In addition, Glacial Lakes Energy announced in conjunction with Redfield Energy LLC that the two companies have mutually agreed to terminate their management agreement, effective Aug. 21. The five-year management agreement originated when the Redfield Energy ethanol facility was constructed in 2005, and was terminated with less than one year remaining on the agreement.

>Owen Jones was recently inducted into the South Dakota Cooperative Hall of Fame. Jones, who was recognized for his lifelong, heroic contribution to the cooperative form of enterprise, has served on the board of directors of Britton, S.D.-based 4 Seasons Cooperative. Jones is widely known as an active supporter of ethanol blended fuel and was instrumental in the installation of the nation's first ethanol blender pump in 2006.

>New Zealand-based LanzaTech NZ Ltd. has announced the successful development of a proprietary fermentation technology which utilizes non-genetically modified microbes to produce ethanol from the carbon monoxide and hydrogen components of industrial waste gas and biomass-based synthesis gas. In August, the company was granted Frost & Sullivan's Green Technology of the Year Award at the annual Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Industrial Technologies Awards in Singapore.

>Poet LLC announced hiring three general managers since the beginning of September. Robert Flynn, who previously served as general manager at Poet's 50 Mmgy Laddonia, Mo., plant, will now serve as general manager of Poet Biorefining - Fostoria, a 68 Mmgy plant in northwest Ohio. Replacing Flynn at Poet Biorefining - Laddonia is Steve Murphy, a 21- year veteran of the Woodbridge Corporation. Dave Brooks, former general manager of Poet's Fostoria plant will now serve as general manager of Poet Biorefining - Marion, located in central Ohio.

>CHS Renewable Fuels Marketing has signed an agreement with NuGen Energy to market its ethanol production. NuGen Energy, which is wholly owned by Central Farmers Cooperative, has the capacity to produce approximately 100 million gallons annually at its Marion, S.D. plant. "CHS offers us good exposure to other markets that we would not be able to access on our own," said NuGen CEO Doug Anderson. "We have nothing but confidence that CHS can find us the best price. We value their marketing and logistical expertise, as well as their risk management services."

>Inc. Magazine has ranked U.S. Energy Services as one of the nation's fastest growing companies on its 28th annual Inc. 500 list. The list represents an exclusive, comprehensive look at America's independent-minded entrepreneurs. The Inc. 500 posted aggregate revenue of $18.4 billion, an increase of more than 34 percent from last year. Energy ranked second in total revenue with $2.5 billion. U.S. Energy Services, of Plymouth, Minn., ranked 341 for rate of growth, and fifth overall for total revenue with $439 million.

>AE Biofuels Inc. and Pearson Fuels recently announced they have been awarded a $6.9 million grant from the U.S. DOE through its Clean Cities program. Under the terms of the agreement, AE Biofuels will supply Pearson Fuels with cellulosic ethanol. The award proposes that the two companies build and supply 55 public E85 fueling stations across California over the next 42 months. EP