Business Briefs

FROM THE OCTOBER ISSUE: A new ethanol plant breaks ground and the American Coalition for Ethanol announces award winners.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | September 04, 2018

Red River Biorefinery breaks ground in North Dakota
An ethanol plant that will process sugar beet tailings, as well as potato and pasta processing waste held a groundbreaking ceremony in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Aug. 22. Construction already has begun on the 11-acre site.

BioMass Solution’s plant will use up to 500,000 tons annually of the process wastes, producing 16.5 MMgy of ethanol and generating D3 and D5 renewable identification numbers (RINs). The plant will use sugar beet processing technology developed by Biotechnika, which has one sugar beet ethanol plant operating in Poland. The process is much like the corn-to-ethanol process, once the feedstock hits the fermentation step. The feedstock has a higher water content than corn, so hydrolysis and pasteurization are different, including new enzymes for hydrolysis. The excess water in the thin stillage is put through anaerobic and aerobic processes to generate more energy for the plant. The temperatures and other process conditions vary a bit, too, said Tomasz Kapela, owner of Biotechnika.

The plant is expected to be operational at the beginning of 2020.

BioMass Solution has a long-term contract with area sugar beet cooperative American Crystal Sugar Co., as well as with partners Simplot, a potato processor in Grand Forks, and Philadelphia Macaroni Co.

The ethanol will be sent to California to take advantage of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The process does create a wet animal feed byproduct with higher protein than traditional DDGS. The feed will be sold locally.

ACE announces 2018 award winners 
The American Coalition for Ethanol honored a select group of advocates for their contributions to the ethanol industry during its 31st annual conference in August in Minneapolis.

The most prestigious award, the Merle Anderson Award, is named after the organization’s founder, who passed away in August at the age of 96. The award is given to individuals who display unmatched dedication to ACE and the domestic ethanol industry. This year’s award winner was Owen Jones, long time ACE board member representing Full Circle Ag of Britton, South Dakota. “I am truly humbled by receiving this award after his passing,” Jones said. “Merle not only provided leadership in the ethanol industry, but he was my mentor because he came from the same roots as I did.”

The Grassroots Award is given to an individual who often performs behind the scenes to advance the cause of ethanol. Dale Tolifson of Benson, Minnesota, was presented with this year’s award for nearly 10 years of service on the ACE board of directors representing the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. “I started farming in 1963 after I graduated from high school and got involved with the ethanol industry around 1990 when we decided to put an ethanol plant in our town,” Tolifson said. “The ethanol industry is the biggest thing that’s happened in my farming career and it still has a lot of potential. I never thought it’d go this far.”

Jetz Convenience Centers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the recipient of the Paul Dana Marketing Vision award. The award is presented to a company that has exhibited leadership in ethanol marketing. Jetz owner Bob O'Connor accepted the award.

Ken Anderson of Brownfield Ag News was given the Media Excellence Award, which goes to those in the media who demonstrate excellence in covering news and issues important to the U.S. ethanol industry. “I’m honored to receive this award from ACE, which is a great resource for ethanol-related information,” Anderson said. “Ethanol is very important to our listeners and readers across the Midwest and keeping them up to date on the latest industry developments is one of our top priorities at Brownfield.”