Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | September 12, 2011

1. W. Wade Robey has started work as Poet LLC’s new chief technology officer, replacing Mark Stowers,  to lead company’s research and commercial development activities. As head of Poet Research in Sioux Falls, S.D., he will oversee the company’s technology development programs including cellulosic ethanol, new products and grain-ethanol process efficiency. Robey brings more than 20 years’ experience in the biotechnology, industrial and animal nutrition industries. In his latest role prior to joining Poet, Robey worked for enzymes-maker Novozymes as head of marketing, Americas. “Poet stands out as a company committed to technology and research,” he said. “It has done some incredible work in its 23 years, and I’m excited to now be part of the Poet team and help continue that tradition.

2. In other news, Poet Biorefining-Caro (Mich.) received the Michigan Agri-Business Association’s 2011 Green Agri-Business Designation for incorporating environmental practices such as a total water recovery system to eliminate waste water discharge and a waste heat recovery system, as well as conducting a recycling program.

3. Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC appointed Peter Matrai its chief operating officer, responsible for the development and implementation of Butamax strategy and business plans. In addition, he will lead the company’s global commercial team, which is currently engaged in activities in the United States, Brazil, Europe and Asia. Prior to joining Butamax, Matrai spent five years with BP Biofuels as a strategy advisor, contributing to the development and implementation of BP Biofuels’ global strategy. A joint project of BP and DuPont, Butamax is poised for a global commercialization launch for its biobutanol process in 2012-’13.

4. Aventine Renewable Holdings Inc. announced the retirement of Thomas Manuel from the board of directors and his position as CEO. The board appointed John Castle as interim CEO. Castle had been recently promoted to executive vice president, chief operating and chief financial officer after helping to lead the company through its transition out of bankruptcy as finance officer. In addition, the board of directors appointed Calvin Stewart, the chief accounting and compliance officer of the company, to serve as interim chief financial officer. 

5. Superior Industries appointed Matt Voigt as its new conveying equipment application engineering specialist to help territory managers develop material handling solutions for their customers. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a degree in mechanical engineering, Voigt worked for Metso’s Barmac line for eight years in design, research and development, and in product and technical support on crushers and screening plants.

6. EdeniQ, Inc. appointed Steve Rust its vice president of sales and marketing. He most recently served as director of marketing at Fremont Industries, where he worked to increase Fremont's market share of water treatment solutions for ethanol producers, along with introducing Fremont's corn oil recovery product into the market. Earlier, he worked with ICM Inc. in a business development role that focused on promoting the ethanol industry, including starting up the Ethanol Promotion Council as director of industry relations, managing the Team Ethanol Indy Car sponsorship in the Indy Racing League and implementing the first blender pump in Kansas. The addition of Rust to the team will allow Richard Root Woods to focus on his role as vice president leading EdeniQ’s commercial development efforts for its Cellunator particle sizing technology and its corn oil extraction product line.

7. Richard Zakrzewski joined Sandmeyer Steel Co. as district sales manager in its Mid-Atlantic sales territory which includes eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and southeastern New York.  He replaces Shawn Fenerty who was recently promoted to the newly created position of vice president–national sales.

8. CPM Roskamp Champion appointed Patty Tometich manager of its test center in Waterloo, Iowa, responsible for all applications testing at the CPM’s pelleting and particle size reduction test center. The center processes samples of customers’ materials in a laboratory that simulates full-scale equipment such as hammermills, roll crushers and shredders, to determine the most cost-efficient and effective means to consistently produce customized pelleting and grinding solutions.

9. TMO Renewables Ltd. has appointed Peter Allen as nonexecutive director. He has experience in serving on the boards of science-based businesses, including ProStrakan Group plc, Chroma Therapeutics Ltd., Proximagen Neuroscience plc and Oxford Nanoscience Technologies Ltd. TMO built the UK’s first cellulosic ethanol process demonstration unit, in operation since 2008. The TMO process is based on a thermophilic bacterium.

10. Enerkem Inc. announced the closing of $29 million Canadian ($30 million U.S.)  in additional financing including equity investments of CA$14.5 million and CA$14.2 million in corporate debt. As part of the equity financing round, The Westly Group, Fondaction CSN and Quince Associates, LP join existing investors Valero Energy Corp., Waste Management, Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and Cycle Capital, investors in the earlier CA$59 million equity round. Enerkem operates two facilities in Quebec and in 2010 began construction of a municipal waste-to-biofuels plant in Alberta. The company expects to break ground later this year on a similar facility in Mississippi for which it is receiving financial support from the USDA and U.S. DOE.

11. Codexis Inc. and Chemtex announced a broad collaboration to develop and produce sustainable detergent alcohols from second-generation cellulosic biomass processes for use in the household products market. Made from palm kernel and petroleum sources today, detergent alcohols—a $6 billion worldwide market —are surfactants that stabilize mixtures of oil and water widely used in laundry detergents, shampoos and other consumer products. The collaboration will utilize Chemtex’s pretreatment process with Codexis’ high performance enzymes. The process will be piloted at Chemtex’s research and development facility in Rivalta, Italy, and demonstration-scale trials are to be conducted at Chemtex’s 40,000 metric-ton-per-year (13.5 MMgy) cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy, that is expected to be operational in 2012.

12. In other announcements, Codexis appointed Pedro Mizutani to its board of directors. Mizutani is executive vice president-upstream business for Raízen Energia Participacoes S.A. and former CEO of Cosan Sugar and Ethanol. Raízen, Brazil’s largest sugar and ethanol producer, holds approximately 16 percent of Codexis’ outstanding shares of common stock and is the company’s largest stockholder.

13. BinMaster Level Controls introduced its 3D MultiVision, a Windows-based inventory management software for the 3DLevelScanner that enables users to view data for multiple bins in a single window. The software can be used with all versions of the noncontact, dust penetrating scanner. Users can get detailed information for a bin including minimum, maximum and average levels and see the 3D visualization of bin content. The software allows multiple users at multiple locations to view bin level and volume data.

14. Coskata Inc. announced the first close of its Series D round of financing, reporting participation by the major investors from previous rounds, including The Blackstone Group, Khosla Ventures, Total Energy Ventures International, ATV, Globespan Capital Partners, General Motors, Arancia and Sumitomo. “We are very pleased with the continued commitment of our existing investors and their confidence in our technology platform,” said William Roe, president and CEO. Coskata has been operating a demonstration-scale integrated biorefinery in Madison, Pa., since 2009 and earlier this year received a conditional commitment for a USDA loan guarantee to build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in the Southeast.

15. Yokogawa Corporation of America released the CW10 Clamp-On Power Meter. This unit combines the basic functionality of a standard clamp-on tester, digital multimeter and power monitor to diagnose maintenance and electrical issues before more expensive and sophisticated equipment may be required to analyze the performance of motors, generators and other power-related equipment. The CW10 allows technicians and maintenance personnel to measure 600 A AC/DC, 1000 V AC/DC, 600 kW AC/DC, power factor, total harmonic distortion, harmonics from 1st to 25th, resistance, and frequency. Other measurement and diagnostic capabilities include phase rotation, voltage detection, continuity check, diode test, inrush current and low pass filter.

16. Motorcycle enthusiasts attending the August rally in Sturgis, S.D., were greeted at the Legendary Buffalo Chip by the Renewable Fuels Association’s “Fueled with Pride” promotional campaign. RFA produced promotional materials, banners and merchandize for the event, as well as displayed an E85 flex-fuel motorcycle. During the rally it has attended for several years, RFA also sponsors a 50-mile ride, with proceeds benefitting two Black Hills charities. In just three years, the event has raised over $150,000 for the Black Hills Special Olympics and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.

17. Expertune Inc. released its latest version of PlantTriage Finder, designed to find the root cause of process upsets, automating the in-depth analysis previously performed by an experienced engineer. The new technology works by evaluating correlations between instrument readings throughout a plant. Upsets that start in one area are reflected in the data patterns from other parts of the plant. Using advanced mathematical techniques, the Root Cause Finder works without requiring process models. Results are displayed graphically.

18. Lechler Inc. announced the release of its M20 Tank cleaning machine, designed to tackle large cleaning jobs such as cleaning fermentation and storage tanks in ethanol plants or wineries. The gear-driven unit is available in a two- or four-nozzle model, providing high-impact cleaning at relatively low inlet pressures. For cleaning of long tanks, such as tanker trucks and railcars, Lechler provides the Horizontal M20, a standard M20 with a special attachment which allows more horizontal spraying.

19. Pursuit Dynamics plc and Biomimetics Health Industries Ltd. have agreed to form a joint venture to develop the patented intellectual property of both companies to create best-in-class disinfection and decontamination solutions using PDX’s atomization technology and Biomimetics’ chemistry. The core areas of focus will be healthcare disinfection, environmental disinfection, animal health disinfection and crop protection. Biomimetics is a UK-based life sciences organization specializing in the research, development and manufacture of unique nature-replicating chemical products that naturally control pathogens. PDX works in biofuels, brewing, food and beverages and public health and decontamination, deploying its PDX atomizer and reactor technologies.

20. Rockwell Automation Inc. launched a Biofuels Customer Advisory Council to provide customers with a forum to discuss their needs, challenges and industry opportunities. Rockwell Automation will utilize the customer feedback to guide and validate future strategies and product roadmaps for its Pavilion8 model predictive control and plantwide optimization solutions. The 2011-’12 advisory group includes representatives from Cardinal Ethanol LLC, Golden Grain Energy LLC, Kansas Ethanol LLC, Marquis Energy LLC, Trenton Agri Products LLC, Western Plains Energy LLC, Western Wisconsin Energy LLC, White Energy LLC and Zilor Enterprises. As part of their participation, members will have the opportunity to preview new products and take advantage of beta-testing opportunities.

21. Lansing Trade Group LLC has completed the acquisition of feed merchandiser Ackerman Beardsley Bennett Inc. The ABB trade name will be retired and renamed Lansing Vermont Inc. A privately owned firm formed in 1931, Lansing has grown into a national trading company, surpassing its grain roots with growth into the energy market. Current annual revenues for the Overland Park, Kan.-based company are approximately $5 billion.

22. Spraying Systems Co. released its Tankjet B and BX injectors for tank cleaning machines and custom-designed nozzle manifolds. The injectors transform steam and cold water into high-pressure, high-temperature liquid feeds. For use with cold, low-pressure city water and existing plant steam, the injectors are nonintrusive and can eliminate pumps and heat exchangers. A liquid control valve siphons chemicals or detergents into the hot water stream.
23. Gamajet Cleaning Systems Inc. released its new Intrepid tank rinsing machine, responding to customer requests for a less expensive spray ball to use for light residues that would also reduce water use. The Intrepid offers fast tank rinsing with the 80 percent less water than the standard spray ball at the same pressure. Unlike traditional Gamajet rotary impingement tank cleaners, the Intrepid utilizes a unique direct-drive design, requiring no gear reduction while still applying concentrated streams for cleaning in a complete, 360-degree pattern.

24. GreenShift Corp. commissioned its patented corn oil extraction system at Advanced BioEnergy LLC’s 110 MMgy ethanol plant in Fairmont, Neb. GreenShift designed and assisted with the construction of a system based on GreenShift’s process that includes two Alfa Laval disc stack centrifuges for maximum performance. Advanced BioEnergy will receive ongoing technical support and have access to GreenShift’s portfolio of proprietary technologies to support its efforts to further enhance coproduct revenues beyond corn oil extraction.


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