Business and People

By | August 27, 2010
>REX Stores Corp. announced in June that it had changed its name to REX American Resources Corp. and the company's stock trading symbol on the New York Stock Exchange is now REX. CEO Stuart Rose said the name change better reflects the company's primary business, assets and focus. REX currently has interests in six ethanol production facilities, representing 144 million gallons of annual ethanol production.

Additionally, the company's board of directors has named Zafar Rizvi as president and chief operating officer. Rizvi has served for 18 years as REX's vice president, most recently overseeing the company's alternative energy interests. "Zafar Rizvi's appointment to the roles of president and chief operating officer acknowledges the strong contributions he has made as we transitioned the company to focus on alternative energy," Rose said.

>Maple Energy plc announced it has acquired the equity necessary to pursue its $254 million proposed ethanol project in Peru. The company acquired the final $28 million necessary from shareholders in June and plans to begin commercial operations at the plant, which is located in the Piura region on the northwest coast of Peru, in mid-2011.

>Yokogawa Electric Corp. has released the latest version of the FAST/TOOLS web-based SCADA system, which enables users to perform remote engineering and maintenance. The system can be utilized for process monitoring and asset management in a variety of industries, according to the company. Benefits of the system include reduced operating costs and optimized sharing and exchange of information, as well as a higher level of management efficiency.

>Biotechnology firm Dyadic International Inc. has hired consulting firm The Abraham Group to provide strategic advice and assistance to Dyadic as it pursues global licensing and collaboration opportunities. The Abraham Group is led by former U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who will also serve as Dyadic's senior advisor. Anne Whitehead, executive director of strategic alliances at Dyadic, said the consulting group will help Dyadic enhance its strategy to team with international energy groups that are committed to commercializing cellulosic ethanol.

>Merrick & Co., an employee-owned engineering, architecture, design-build, surveying and geospatial solutions firm, has elected Jill Tietjan to its board of directors. Tietjen is president and CEO of a consulting firm that serves the electric utility industry and has more than 30 years of experience in the electric utility industry. She serves on the board of directors of Georgia Transmission Corp. and has authored several technical papers for electric utility publications. In May, Merrick & Co. formed a consultancy unit focused on the energy market, including renewable, refining and utilities.

>Indianapolis-based bioengineering firm Xylogenics Inc. has named three people to its board of directors. William Parry is an attorney with extensive expertise in patent law and mergers and acquisitions. He served as vice president, general counsel, for Nalco Chemical Co. from 1995 to 2000 and previously worked for UOP, a Honeywell company. Joseph Prochaska Jr. has served on internal regulatory boards for more than 25 years, and has held executive positions for several companies, including MetLife Inc. and Aon Financial Services Group Inc. He currently serves on the boards of Baird & Warner Inc. and the audit committee and advisory council of the Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame. Anthony Hubbard serves as the financial advisor and general manager for Stanbio Life Sciences and has more than 15 years of experience in management, operations and business development in emerging technology related to ventures. Chairman Butch Mercer said the trio will assist the company in its objective to develop and market proprietary bioengineered yeast strains and cellulosic ethanol technology to ethanol facilities.

>Elevator components manufacturer 4B Components Ltd. has made available a Class II, Division 1 approved bearing temperature sensor that is designed to allow the depth of the probe to be adjusted depending on its application. The ADB series is available with probe lengths of two, four or eight inches, and can be screwed directly into a bearing housing through the existing threaded grease zerk. The sensors are designed for continuous temperature monitoring.

>Genera Energy LLC, a for-profit company formed by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation, recently broke ground on a first-of-its-kind biomass processing center. The Biomass Innovation Park will be co-located with the Genera-DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol demonstration-scale plant near Vonore, Tenn., and will begin processing switchgrass for ethanol production by the end of the year. Located on 21 acres, the facility will provide harvesting, handling, storage, densification, pre-processing and transportation for multiple feedstocks. Genera President and CEO Kelly Tiller said the biomass facility will initially process up to 50,000 tons of switchgrass, which the company has contracted farmers to grow this season.

>Onset Computer Corp., a supplier of data loggers, has a new energy and environmental monitoring product catalog available. The 75-page catalog provides product descriptions, technical specifications, and pricing for the company's full line of trademarked HOBO data logging solutions. The company expanded the range of measurement options for its line of HOBO U12 data loggers offered for energy and environmental monitoring. Specifically, multi-channel versions of the U12 data loggers can now measure and record kilowatts, air velocity, gauge pressure, differential pressure, DC current and other energy and environmental parameters.

>Dallas-based Evolution Fuels Inc. has retained Bloomfield Advisors to assist in structuring and financing it's prototype fueling station of the future. As the initial phase of its plan, management plans to build out one to three prototype fueling stations. The company envisions a brand that incorporates a broad selection of alternative fuels, a store built with recycled materials and utilyzing solar power, and offering health food and beverages along with fuel.

>ExperTune's PlantTriage Control System Monitoring Software now has tools to diagnose the health of instruments, valves and controls. For years, ExperTune's patented "Control Loop Health" approach has identified problem control loops. Now. several new tools provide more specific performance metrics and diagnostics for each control loop component: the instrument, the valve and the controller. The Valve Health measurement, for example, combines information about control valve sizing, application,and mechanical performance. The new tools are included in the latest release of ExperTune's PlantTriage software.

>A new biofuels business with products and services for corn-based ethanol plants has been launched by Pursuit Dynamics plc. Validation tests indicate plants utilizing the new PDX Ethanol Reactor System can expect improved production yields, reduced operating costs and substantial throughput improvements. Marquis Energy LLC, a 100 MMgy plant in Hennepin, Ill., and Pacific Ethanol Columbia LLC, a 40 MMgy plant in Boardman, Ore., are participating in the operational validation of the new ERS.

>The new MINIDIS ADXpert analyzer from Grabner Instruments is an alternative to classical ASTM D86 testing, according to the company. The unit has about twice the resolution as D86 distillation units, yielding results that are well within ASTM D86r/R requirements. MINIDIS also performs according to the new D7344 standard for atmospheric distillation. The MINIDIS development team focused on several design goals: automation, miniaturization and ease of use. Like the D86 method, the ADXpert performs a true atmospheric distillation but on a much smaller scale. It requires as little as 6mL of sample and is much faster.

>The sixth edition of the Ethanol Fact Book has been published by the Clean Fuels Development Coalition and is being distributed through the Ethanol Across America campaign. The book addresses issues regarding the ethanol tax incentive, energy security and oil import reductions, economic impacts and benefits to the U.S. Treasury, greenhouse gas reduction and environmental benefits, advancements in cellulose conversion technologies, developments in flex-fuel vehicle production and high level blends. "Through the Ethanol Across America education program, we are getting the facts out and believe when people understand the wide range of benefits ethanol provides they will continue to support it," said U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., co-chair of the Ethanol Across America campaign.

>Propel, which builds, owns and operates a network of clean fueling points on the West Coast, added four people to its management team in July. Matt Horton is the company's CEO. His experience has spanned a broad spectrum of investment activities and board responsibilities most recently with @Ventures, a cleantech-focused venture capital firm specializing in early-stage companies. As a certified public accountant and chief financial officer, Andy Wynne will lead the company's financial planning and accounting functions including capital strategy, budgeting, and new market analysis for Propel's growing renewable fuel network. Jim Cannon is the new vice president of construction and development and oversees Propel's expanding network of green-built fueling stations. Jim Iacoponi is the vice president of operations and leads the company's efforts to source the most sustainable fuels, grow sales and product lines.

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