Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | October 18, 2011

1. Three new members joined the board of the American Coalition for Ethanol at its annual meeting in August: Bob Sather, director of public affairs, who will represent Ace Ethanol LLC, a 43 MMgy ethanol producer in Stanley, Wis.; Ron Wetherell, chairman, Little Sioux Corn Processors, a 108 MMgy locally-owned ethanol plant in Marcus, Iowa; and, Kevin Dailey, president and CEO of North American Bioproducts Corp.

2. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP expanded its project finance and renewable energy capabilities with the addition of partners Thomas Trimble and Jeremy Schwer, who have re-joined the firm's Washington office. Trimble was co-head of the renewable energy practice group at his former firm, Hunton & Williams LLP. Firm chairman R. Bruce McLean remarked, "We are very excited to welcome back Tom and Jeremy to the Washington office. Their arrival continues the momentum of our project finance team expansion, which had a big boost last quarter on the West Coast with the arrival of Ed Zaelke and Adam Umanoff and their team from Chadbourne and Parke." 

3. Pacific Ethanol Inc. announced its subsidiary, Kinergy Marketing LLC, has entered into a two-year extension of its exclusive ethanol marketing arrangement with AE Advanced Fuels Keyes Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of AE Biofuels Inc. The companies extended a Nov. 11, 2010, agreement to sell all the ethanol produced by AE Keyes’ 55 MMgy facility located in Keyes, Calif. The AE Keyes facility became operational in the second quarter of 2011.

4. Petro Serve USA received the Paul Dana Marketing Vision Award from the American Coalition for Ethanol for its support of E85 and its efforts in urging its oil company suppliers to allow blender pumps. Petro Serve General Manager Kent Satrang also played a crucial role in getting state funds allocated to improve blender pump infrastructure in North Dakota which has the largest number of blender pumps of any state in the nation.

5. ICM Inc. has coupled its feedstock-flexible gasification system with Eisenmann Corp.’s dual-field WESP (wet electrostatic precipitation). ICM chose this emission abatement technology based on work at ICM’s commercial-scale demonstration gasifier adjacent to the Harvey County municipal solid waste transfer and recycling facility in Newton, Kan. The gasifier can test multiple feedstocks, include refuse-derived fuel (RDF), tire-derived fuel mixed with RDF, wood chips, wheat straw, switchgrass and corn stover.

6. Missouri-based LLL Transport Inc. has been sold to a private ownership group led by Gary Waller and Joshua Wheeler, who will assume the roles of CEO and chief financial officer, respectively. “I have come to know and respect Gary Waller and Josh Wheeler over the past few years. They know the transportation and biofuels industries, and I am confident they will continue the legacy of LLL Transport,” said Jeff Littrell, who founded the company 25 years ago. He and his sons, Jason and Daniel, will remain in leadership roles, as will Greg Davis, operations manager. The company has no plans for workforce reductions among its 130 employees.

7. ExperTune Inc. is offering a no-cost upgrade for existing users of Rockwell RSTune and RS Loop Optimizer, both developed by the company for Rockwell systems. ExperTune’s PID Loop Optimizer software provides a direct replacement for the Rockwell products, with many feature upgrades included. 

8. Eco-Energy Holdings Inc. is partnering with J.T. Russell and Sons Inc. for the development, construction and day-to-day operations of a unit train facility at its ethanol distribution facility in Denton, N.C. It will be equipped to receive up to 96-car unit trains via both the CSX and NS railroads and will have tank storage for more than 95,000 barrels of ethanol. The partnership will offer throughput agreements to ethanol suppliers and end-users desiring to lower their supply chain costs. Focusing on the marketing and distribution of biofuels, Eco-Energy is one of the largest full-service marketing companies in North America with over $2.5 billion in sales and handling nearly 10 percent of the biofuels market.

9. Founders Jeff and Larry DeGraaf celebrated the 25th year of business for their company, Industrial Construction & Engineering Co. Missouri-based IC&E began as a regional contractor providing insulation services and has since expanded to become a national contractor serving industries such as renewable energies, power and process, refrigeration and food and beverage. “The renewable energies market has been a big growth area for us,” Jeff DeGraff, president, said. IC&E’s dedicated renewable energy crews have completed more than 30 ethanol projects and 13 biodiesel plants.

10. Gavilon LLC became Heron Lake BioEnergy LLC’s exclusive corn supplier and marketer of ethanol and distillers grains Sept. 1. "We are extremely pleased to be selected as Heron Lake's exclusive provider and marketer of the ethanol plant's inputs and outputs," commented Randy Ives, director of ethanol services at Gavilon. "This agreement leverages our core capabilities and will enable Heron Lake to reduce its working capital requirements and more effectively manage its processing margins in both the spot and forward markets." Heron Lake procures approximately 18 million bushels of corn per year and produces approximately 50 million gallons of ethanol and 160,000 tons of DDGS.

11. Trillium FiberFuels Inc. received a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation to support enzyme development for cellulosic ethanol. Trillium can now compete for a larger Phase II award in 2012. Trillium will use the funds for the development of a novel, naturally occurring enzyme that was isolated by Stephen Giovannoni at Oregon State University that converts xylose into a sugar fermentable by brewing yeast.

12. CPM announced a new industrial market manufacturers’ sales representative agreement with Synertek Process Equipment Inc.  Scott Engle and Scott Holland of Synertek will be industrial market sales representatives for CPM Roskamp Champion in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Synertek has been a leader in dry process equipment applications since 1990, representing equipment manufacturers who weigh, batch, blend, mill, screen and classify, measure, monitor and convey dry solids or powder material. CPM business units include Crown Iron Works, Roskamp Champion, California Pellet Mill, Beta Raven, Century Extrusion, Wolverine Proctor and Greenbank Technology.

13. GreenShift Corp. announced the successful commissioning of its patented corn oil extraction technology at Advanced BioEnergy LLC’s 110 MMgy ethanol plant in Fairmont, Neb.  “We are consistently extracting our desired yield without use of chemical additives,” said Richard Peterson, Advanced BioEnergy CEO. “The turn-key system designed by GreenShift has a payback of substantially less than one year. We look forward to the additional income this system will generate for our business.”
14. A multi-year agreement between Pacific Convenience and Fuels LLC and Redwood City, Calif.-based Propel Fuels Inc. allows Propel to co-locate its Clean Fuel Point alternative fuel dispensers at more than 80 of PC&F’s 300 gas stations and convenience stores located in California, Washington Oregon and Colorado. PC&F will provide Propel with access to its retail sites while Propel will own and operate the alternative fuel equipment, provide E85 and biodiesel for the system and handle customer outreach and education.

15. Clean Burn Fuels LLC’s primary lender, Cape Fear Farm Credit, has taken possession of the plant in Raeford, N.C., following an unsuccessful foreclosure auction. Necessary maintenance is now being done on the plant, which has been idled since it filed for bankruptcy early this year. Cape Fear will also invest in completing the necessary repairs to restart the facility while continuing to seek a buyer for the plant, according to CEO Michael Jackson.

16. Enerkem Inc. has signed an offtake agreement with Methanex Corp. for methanol that will be produced at Enerkem’s 36 MMly (10 MMgy) facility in Edmonton, Alberta. The facility is currently under construction and is expected to begin producing methanol from municipal solid waste (MSW) in the second half of 2012. The offtake agreement allows Enerkem to generate revenues from an intermediate product while construction of the ethanol island is finalized. Enerkem is also developing a 10 MMgy MSW-to-ethanol facility in northeast Mississippi near Pontotoc.


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