Business Briefs

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

1. Canadian waste-to-biofuels developer, Enerkem Inc., has expanded its executive team and added two directors to its board. Jim Conner will oversee engineering, global supply chain and project management, as well as plant operations as Enerkem’s senior vice president, operations. He spent most of his career at Celanese Corp., most recently as vice president, global operations and technology. He was also responsible for process and project engineering, research and development. Based in the Netherlands, Anton de Vries brings three decades of experience in fuels and chemicals, having worked more than 18 years with Royal Dutch Shell and 11 years with LyondellBasell, the world’s third largest independent chemicals producer. Larry MacDonald is joining the board, bringing his 30 years of experience at NOVA Chemicals Corp. in senior executive functions.

2. Scott Peterson, Interstate Co. chief financial officer and president of Harbor Group, was recently named to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s advisory council on agriculture, small business and labor. With his perspective as a construction industry business leader, he will provide input regarding general economic and labor conditions in northwest Iowa.

3. Lallemand Ethanol Technology has appointed Charl Goosen its new general manager succeeding Bill Nankervis who is now president of the company’s specialty division businesses. Since 2003, he has been general manager of Pioneer Foods Group’s SASKO Bakeries business in South Africa. Based in Milwaukee, Wis., LET is a business unit of the Canadian yeast and bacteria producer Lallemand Inc.

4. Ineos Bio has launched a licensing program for its waste-to-bioenergy technology and selected global engineering firm AMEC to be its license support engineering firm. The technology is based on a modular design, which allows for varying sized plants to match feedstock supplies, beginning with an 8 MMgy cellulosic ethanol size. The first 8 MMgy plant is being built by Ineos New Planet BioEnergy LLC and is expected to be in production in the second quarter in Vero Beach, Fla. Vogelbusch USA has received the contract to supply the ethanol distillation and dehydration equipment for the facility.

5. BlueFire Renewables Inc. will make its technology available for licensing through a newly formed subsidiary, SucreSource, which will focus on providing front-end cellulosic sugar capabilities to companies with back-end fermentation, bio-reactor and catalysis processes. “Back-end biochemical and biofuel processes need low-cost, nonfood cellulosic sugars for widespread commercialization, whether the end product be ethanol, biobutanol, ethyl levulinate, etc,” said CEO Arnie Klann. According to BlueFire, its concentrated acid hydrolysis technology process offers an 85 percent or better conversion rate and can be used with multiple feedstocks. The technology allows for xylose, glucose or other sugars to be isolated and delivered.

6. Eco-Energy Inc., a biofuel supply chain company headquartered in Tennessee, will provide corn procurement and ethanol marketing services to the 50 MMgy Utica Energy LLC ethanol facility located in Oshkosh, Wis. The companies entered into a three-year integrated margin management agreement, which calls for Eco-Energy to assess the entire cost of Utica Energy’s ethanol production. Eco-Energy provides supply chain services to 14 biofuel producers in North America, with the majority located in the Corn Belt. The company reports over $3 billion in sales, handling nearly 10 percent of the biofuels market.

7. REX American Resources Corp. increased its ownership share to 98 percent in NuGen Energy LLC, a 100 MMgy ethanol plant in Marion, S.D. Using cash on hand, REX completed the additional 50 percent investment with Central Farmers Cooperative LLC, a locally owned farmers cooperative that retained 2 percent ownership. Continuing to increase its investment in ethanol, the NuGen acquisition increases REX’s stake in several ethanol plants by about 30 percent, from a nameplate production capacity of 169 MMgy to 219 MMgy.

8. Lincoln Energy Solutions will nearly triple its ethanol and biodiesel transportation services. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Lincoln Energy delivers to locations in South Carolina, North Carolina—including an ethanol transload center in Greensboro—plus Georgia and Tennessee, with future locations in Florida and Virginia. In addition, the company operates a unit train facility in Belton, S.C. that is leased to Archer Daniels Midland Co.

9. ZeaChem Inc. has signed an agreement with California-based ethanol producer Pacific Ethanol Inc. to provide operations, maintenance and accounting services for ZeaChem’s 250,000 gallon per year demonstration cellulosic ethanol facility in Boardman, Ore. ZeaChem’s demo plant is scheduled to begin producing bio-based chemicals by the end of this year using hybrid poplar as its primary feedstock, with cellulosic ethanol production to follow. In late October, ZeaChem announced it has raised $19 million in Series C financing, led by Birchmere Ventures. Birchmere partner Sean D.S. Sebastian also joined the ZeaChem board. Follow-on investment was provided by existing investors Firelake Capital, Globespan Capital Partners, Mohr Davidow Ventures, PrairieGold Venture Partners and Spring Ventures. Two independent members also joined the board, Ross Pillari and Charles Shaver. Pillari held positions with BP for 35 years, including chairman and chief executive officer of BP America Inc. He currently serves as an advisory board member to CVC Capital Partners, Inc. Shaver has three decades of experience in the chemicals industry, most recently serving as president of The TPC Group, Inc.

10. Saskatchewan-based Nipawin Biomass Ethanol New Generation Co-operative Ltd. has contracted with the Saskatchewan Research Council to further develop its catalytic process for cellulosic ethanol production. When operational, Nipawin Biomass intends to process waste timber and farm residues into ethanol.  The proposed 100 MMly (26 MMgy) ethanol plant will require approximately 200,000 dry metric tons of cellulosic material annually. California-based Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc. is integrating the catalytic conversion process developed by SRC and Nipawin Biomass into its proprietary technology of converting municipal solid waste into ethanol.  Fulcrum’s first commercial-scale plant is projected to begin construction this year.

11. Marquis Energy LLC announced it will install two Indeck boilers at its biorefineries in Necedah, Wis., and Hennepin, Ill.  The additional steam supply and system redundancy will allow both Marquis plants to continue expanding capacity and output.

12. Ashland Water Technologies, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc., has introduced two new corn oil extraction aids. DPM-399 provides an entry point to improving corn oil yield, according to the company, while DPI-428, a midrange product, delivers greater corn yields. Its first extraction aid, the premium PTV M-5309, was introduced in September 2010, and provides the maximum yield improvement and highest corn oil quality. All three extraction aids improve the release of corn oil during centrifugation by modifying the surface chemistry of solids and oil micelles in the syrup. Oil in the treated syrup is more easily released and less centrifugal energy is required to separate the oil from the syrup.

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