Business Briefs

By EPM Staff | January 16, 2013

Victory Energy Operations LLC has completed a majority recapitalization with Saw Mill Capital Partners LP in partnership with John Viskup, Victory’s founder, president and CEO. Viskup remains a significant owner of Victory and will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO. In conjunction with the partnership, Larry Edwards, the former president, CEO and chairman of Global Power Equipment Group will join the Victory team and serve on its board. Saw Mill Capital Partners is the former owner of Global Power Equipment Group. Victory designs, engineers and services boilers, fired package boilers, waste heat boilers, heat recovery steam generators and related equipment.
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Infinite Enzymes LLC has announced IE-CBHI, a single activity, plant-based cellulase enzyme, is now available for research and demonstration projects. Infinite Enzyme’s technology produces enzymes in a lower-value part of the corn kernel, thereby creating a new sustainable market for corn processing byproducts. The technology lowers the cost of sugar production. The company advanced its technology through a $450,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant awarded by the USDA. The IE-CBHI product is available through the Sigma-Aldrich Corp.’s product and services portfolio.
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Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. has announced that Blendstar LLC, its wholly owned subsidiary, has begun operations at its 96-car unit train terminal in Birmingham, Ala. The new terminal is served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and has a throughput capacity of 300 MMgy of ethanol. The terminal current has 160,000 barrels of storage and a covered truck rack, each with expansion capabilities. The location will provide more efficient distribution of ethanol to underserved markets in the Southeast while expanding Green Plains Renewable Energy’s geographic footprint.
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Two new employee owners have joined Apache Stainless Equipment Corp. They are Dennis Buehring, vice president of sales and marketing, and Mark Nelson, director of engineering. Buehring has a well-established career with experience in professional sales management, and engineering systems and methodologies in a manufacturing environment. He is responsible for both the Apache and Mepaco equipment brands, and for developing and achieving long-term strategic and cohesive goals for the company. Nelson has a history of forging strong relationships with production workforces and has experience in engineering practices and systems. SEE PHOTOS: BUEHRING AND NELSON
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DuPont Industrial Biosciences has purchased Verdezyne Inc.’s proprietary isomerase technology, which enables the metabolism of five-carbon sugars. Under the terms of the sale, DuPont has purchased rights to the technology, covered by U.S. Patent Nos. 8,114,974 and 8,093,037, for use in the biofuels and biochemical fields.
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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has appointed Fred Iutzi of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University to the Illinois Ethanol Research Advisory Board. The board provides oversight for the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, including guidance on the operations, budget and strategic direction of the NCERC. The center provides pilot-scale research infrastructure and services to industry, academia and government agencies. Iutzi  serves as the agricultural and energy program manager for the IIRA and holds leadership roles in several other public and public-private collaborations to advance renewable energy in Illinois, including the Illinois Biomass Working Group.
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The Indiana State Department of Agriculture has announced fuel retail company Thorntons Inc. as the winner of the 2012 Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award. Indiana Agriculture Director Joseph Kelsay presented the award during the Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition Holiday Reception in Indianapolis. The award recognizes those who have exemplified leadership and innovative vision in the bioenergy industry. It recognizes Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana, who supported the state’s biofuels industry and was killed in a 2006 racing accident. Thorntons began selling gasoline in 1952. The company was also named the 2012 Greater Indiana Clean Cities Award recipient for the Ethanol Blends Award.
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Germany-based Direvo Industrial Biotechnology GmbH is commercializing its BluCon platform for complete, one-step conversion of nonfood biomass into carbohydrates for use as feedstock in the biofuel and biochemical industry. The platform is flexible in both the type of biomass it can process, and the fuels and chemicals that can be produced.
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Proterro Inc. has closed on a $3.5 million financing round led by current investor Braemer Energy Ventures. Cultivan Ventures and Middleland Capital joined existing investors, Battelle Ventures and its affiliate, Innovation Valley Partners, in participating in the round. The funding will help in optimizing the genetic engineering of Proterro’s sucrose-producing microorganism and support the expansion of the company’s patent portfolio. The capital will support the piloting of a full-scale bioreactor, as well as design completion for a demonstration-scale facility.
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The National Corn Growers Association has launched a new Web-based resource designed to provide information to people who want to know the single truth about ethanol so they can continue the conversion about how farmers are not only helping to feed the world, but fuel it too. The website offers links to articles on flex-fuel vehicles, food and fuel, jobs and the economy, lower toxic emissions, energy security, and E15. The information can be accessed at www.EthanolFacts.com
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BP Biofuels has announced its plans to invest $350 million to expand its ethanol processing capacity at Tropical, one of its sugarcane processing ventures in Brazil. The expansion is scheduled to start next year and includes the building of a new mill. Tropical’s processing capacity will double to 5 million tons of sugarcane producing 450 MMly. The mill is expected to be operating at full capacity by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
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Propel Fuels has closed on the initial phase of its Series D round of funding with $11 million in equity capital from existing investors Nth Power, Craton Equity Partners and @Ventures as well as a new investor, Gentry Venture Partners. In addition, the company has secured $10 million in debt financing from CapX Partners. The new funding will allow Propel to accelerate the build-out of its network of stations. As part of the investment by Gentry, Thomas B. Raterman, a partner, has joined Propel’s board of directors. Raterman has more than 30 years of corporate finance, investment banking and executive management experience with rapidly growing entrepreneurial companies.