Business Briefs

By | November 15, 2010
Pursuit Dynamics PLC has appointed Richard Webster to replace Donald Bell who is retiring as finance director at the end of the year. Webster has held a number of senior finance positions in UK firms as well as serving as non-executive director at the UK Ministry of Defense from 2007 to 2009. Based in the UK with offices in Connecticut, Pursuit Dynamics offers energy efficiency solutions to the biofuels, brewing and other industries.

Dallas-based Weaver LLP has re-focused its leadership on specific industries. Assurance partner Wade Watson is assuming responsibility for renewable and energy compliance. He plans to grow the practice through existing services, focusing on new regulations such as the U.S. EPA's mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule. John Mackel will oversee all of the industry practices. Previously he led Weaver's energy services practice. Other partners in the accounting firm will focus on financial services; manufacturing, distribution and retail; oil and gas; the public sector; real estate and construction; and technology.

CHS Renewable Fuels Marketing has hired John Gray as market access manager to develop downstream logistics and infrastructure enabling CHS Inc. to penetrate markets and establish more efficient and effective market channels for renewable fuels. Gray has nearly 30 years of distribution and logistics development/management experience with biofuels and refined fuels. During his 25-year career with Shell Oil he worked primarily in supply, trading and distribution, including five years with its Motiva Enterprises LLC joint venture. Most recently, he held executive level positions with two biofuels companies.

Maple Leaf Reforestation Inc. has signed an exclusive agreement to sell rights for unnamed patented ethanol production technologies in China. It has exclusive marketing rights for the cellulosic ethanol process as well as certain rights to a patented process for creating enzymes. China plans to blend 10 million tons of ethanol (3.3 billion gallons) into gasoline by 2020, according to Maple Leaf, but its current annual production rate is about 1.35 million tons, mostly using corn and wheat. China, the world's third largest ethanol producer, expects to increase its non-fossil fuel component to 15 percent of energy demand by 2020, compared to 8 percent last year. Maple Leaf, a publicly traded Canadian company, hopes to pursue biofuel ventures in China, along with tree plantings and other environmental projects.

Perdue BioEnergy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Perdue AgriBusiness Inc. will both supply feedstock and sell coproducts for Bionol Clearfield LLC's 110 MMgy ethanol plant in Clearfield, Pa. Perdue BioEnergy will supply approximately 40 million bushels of corn, purchasing as much corn locally as possible. In addition, Perdue will market and sell the 385,000 tons of the distillers grains to area feed mills serving Pennsylvania dairy, turkey and chicken operations as well as to international markets.

The Andersons Marathon Ethanol LLC, Greenville, Ohio, has agreed to supply CO2 to Continental Carbonic Products Inc. which plans to co-locate a 50,000-square-foot dry ice manufacturing facility at Greenville. The 110 MMgy plant is a partnership between The Andersons Inc. and Marathon Petroleum Company LP. The Greenville plant will be one of CCPI's largest among seven, producing 340 tons of CO2 products each day. The Andersons has a similar agreement with CCPI at its ethanol plant in Albion, Mich.

Algenol Biofuels Inc. celebrated the grand opening Oct. 19 of its 43,000-square-foot research and development center built with the help of a $10 million grant from the Lee County (Florida) board of commissioners. The new facility houses Algenol's advanced biology and engineering laboratories including 40 acres of land containing photobioreactors—containers used for its trademarked Direct to Ethanol process, which generates ethanol from algae, saltwater and carbon dioxide. A year ago, Algenol received a $25 million U.S. DOE grant to develop a pilot-scale, algae-based ethanol biorefinery in Freeport, Texas, in collaboration with Dow Chemical Co.

Glycos Biotechnologies Inc. has developed a microbial technology platform that can convert fatty acids into ethanol, advanced biofuels and biochemicals. Paul Campbell, chief science officer, explained the company uses both E. coli and other microbes to achieve high conversion rates."We've demonstrated one-to-one conversion, which would be the equivalent of taking one pound of fatty acid and making one pound of ethanol." GlycosBio intends to scale the process up to pilot scale within the next few months at its facility in Houston.

Verenium Corp. has launched a new glucoamylase enzyme for the saccharification of liquefied starch from multiple substrates including corn, milo, barley, wheat and cassava. "Customers using both Verenium's Fuelzyme(R) alpha-amylase and Deltazym (R) GA L-E5 have reported increased ethanol yields due to demonstrated synergies between the two enzyme products providing fuel ethanol processing plants with superior cost-performance benefits," according to President and CEO Janet Roemer.

Newly re-opened Denco II has signed on with Mansfield Oil Co.'s C&N Companies for ethanol marketing. Energetix LLC has partnered with the local investment group that purchased the Morris, Minn., plant to oversee the business and facility operations at the 24 MMgy plant. Mick Miller, Energetix president and former Denco manager, will serve as the general manager for Denco II.

O.I. Analytical, College Station, Texas, has completed a brochure on instruments and chemical analyses used in studying and optimizing reactions in producing cellulosic ethanol, which includes a table summarizing the test methods and instruments for each step from pretreatment and hydrolysis through fermentation and final fuel blending.

Trillium FiberFuels Inc. is working with an unidentified out-of-state pulp and paper mill in an attempt to crack the xylose utilization question. The pulp and paper mill is providing hemicellulose, to the Corvallis, Ore., Trillium lab where researchers plan to ramp up tests to 200 liter batches before year's end and 4,000 liters early next year. "What we're trying to do is use conventional yeast that is still tough and basically change the food so they can use it," says Chris Beatty, president and one of four founding members of the company. Starting with an industrial enzyme used to make high fructose corn syrup, the company is working on perfecting its simultaneous isomerization. The patent-pending process converts sugar to a useable food for yeast and ferments at the same time. Trillium is halfway through a U.S. DOE grant period.

Brazil petrochemical company Braskem A.S. inaugurated a commercial-scale plant in September to produce ethylene from ethanol at its Triunfo complex in the southern state of Rio Grande. The polymerization process converting ethylene into resin is completed at an existing plant in the Triunfo complex. The new plant will consume around 462 million liters (120 million gallons) of ethanol per year. The company is the largest industrial consumer of ethanol in Brazil, absorbing around 700 million liters per year for the production of green polyethylene and the fuel additive ETBE. Braskem contracts with Brazilian ethanol producers will include a code of conduct establishing sustainability criteria.

Motiva Enterprises LLC, a refining, distribution and retail joint venture between Shell Oil Co. and Saudi Refining Inc., has expanded its Doraville, Ga., terminal to allow for delivery of Norfolk Southern Corp. unit trains transporting Midwest ethanol. Motiva said the expansion will enable an 80-car unit train to be off-loaded and returned to the supplier intact and will better serve ethanol producers supplying the Southeast market. "This is a major step in making the Motiva Doraville terminal the low-cost solution for ethanol distribution in the Atlanta metropolitan area," said John Kraemer, Norfolk Southern group vice president. Motiva currently operates ethanol hubs at terminals in New Jersey, Rhode Island, Louisiana and Florida and is considering adding rail capabilities to its ethanol hubs under development at Port Everglades, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C.

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