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Business Briefs

By Erin Voegele | December 29, 2016

Dennis Bayrock has been appointed adjunct professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Minnesota. He also currently serves as global director of fermentation research at Phibrochem’s Ethanol Performance Group. At the U of M, Bayrock will collaborate on a number of research projects involving antibiotic use, inactivation kinetics, risk assessment and bacterial contamination mitigation strategies in fuel ethanol production.

Growth Energy has appointed Christopher Hogan as vice president of communications and public affairs. In his new role, Hogan will oversee all aspects of the organization’s efforts to raise awareness of ethanol’s importance as America’s leading source of clean, affordable, homegrown energy. Hogan previously served as vice president of communications at the International Bottled Water Association, where he represented the industry in U.S. and international publications and managed award-winning public relations efforts designed to strengthen IBWA’s role as a thought leader at the local and national level on industry, environmental, health, safety and consumer issues. 

Lee Enterprises Consulting has announced the addition of five new experts in its newly formed Renewable Chemicals Division. The consulting group, which now numbers over 100 experts worldwide, has specialists in biodiesel, ethanol, emerging technologies, biomass power, renewable chemicals, biogas, anaerobic digestion, business and finance. The new additions include David Dodds, Ronald Newman, Steven Toon, Bernard Cooker and David Senyk. 

Aemetis Inc. has announced the election of Lydia I. Beebe to the company’s board of directors. Beebe is senior counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC. Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini, she served for 38 years with Chevron Corp.  In 1995, Beebe was promoted to corporate secretary of Chevron, the first female corporate officer in Chevron’s 127-year history.   In 2007, she also became Chevron’s chief governance officer, holding both offices until she retired in 2015.

U.S. Water, an Allete Co., has announced the acquisition of Water & Energy Systems Technology Inc. WEST provides specialty chemicals and engineering service for water treatment in a variety of industries including commercial & institutional facilities, light industry, oil fields, and central heating/cooling plants. Located in California and servicing the U.S. Southwest, the company has nearly two decades of experience helping customers reduce operating costs related to water and energy usage.

The Renewable Fuels Association has announced the addition of KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna LLC to its membership. On Sept. 30, KAAPA Ethanol Holdings closed on its acquisition of the former Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Ravenna, Nebraska. The facility uses 33 million bushels of corn to produce 90 million gallons of ethanol per year. KAAPA Ethanol Holdings owns and operates another facility in Minden, Nebraska, and its latest addition brings the company’s combined ethanol production capacity to 170 MMgy. This is the company’s second producer membership to RFA.

Houston-based Natural Chem Group LLC recently acquired the mothballed Abengoa ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico, through a competitive bidding process. NCG plans to redevelop the facility into an eco-fuels blend terminal, capable of producing 4.5 million gallons of B20 biodiesel per month. The company will blend diesel with biodiesel to produce varying blends of commercial transportation fuel, primarily a 20 percent biodiesel blend (B20), which is the industry standard.

Taurus Energy AB has joined the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association as a vendor member. Taurus Energy, which is based in Sweden and has operations in Minnesota, is a research and development company that has developed new yeast technology for ethanol production.

Gevo Inc. announced Alaska Airlines fueled a flight using its cellulosic renewable alcohol-to-jet (ATJ) fuel Nov. 14. The flight originated in Seattle and concluded at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. Gevo also announced that a 12.5 percent blend of its isobutanol is now being sold in the Houston area. Musket Corp., Gevo’s distribution partner in the Houston market, is blending the fuel. Buc-ee’s, a 37-store regional chain, is the first company to sell the blend, which is marketed as a high-performance, ethanol-free gasoline.

Novozymes recently launched Fermax, an enzyme protease that prevents foam development during the sugarcane ethanol fermentation process, while delivering improved control and replacing chemicals. For an average size plant, trialing partners also experienced a cost reduction of up to 20 percent when using Fermax, as compared with use of chemicals.

Ener-Core Inc. has delivered two of its 2-MW power oxidizers to the Pacific Ethanol’s Stockton, California, ethanol plant. The power oxidizers, after delivery and installation with a Dresser-Rand KG2 turbine, are expected to provide up to 3.5 MW of electricity and over 26,000 pounds of steam per hour. The power stations will provide Pacific Ethanol with a first-of-its-kind solution that can reduce air pollution by converting low-quality waste gases generated by the Stockton plant's ethanol production into useful electricity and steam. The power stations are intended to significantly reduce the quantity of energy currently purchased by the Stockton plant and are expected to reduce its energy costs by an estimated $3 to $4 million per year.

ICM Inc. has announced it has commenced a process to explore the feasibility of revitalizing the recently purchased Abengoa Bioenergy plant in Colwich, Kansas, to a larger-scale, state-of-the-art energy efficient biorefinery. If the project proceeds, the plant will encompass all of ICM’s latest technology innovations with the goal to have one of the lowest carbon indexes of any grain ethanol plant in the world.  This venture would be a showplace that ICM’s global customers could visit.  The process for building the plant will require the raising of additional capital, as well as procuring engineering studies and acquiring the necessary permits, licenses and consents to proceed. This assessment process is being undertaken by ICM.