Business Briefs

FROM THE NOVEMBER ISSUE: RFA's newest member, MN Governor's Biofuels Council established, Whitefox Technologies welcomes new member.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | October 11, 2019

RFA welcomes Greenbrier
The Greenbrier Cos. has joined the Renewable Fuels Association.

Greenbrier, headquartered in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is an international supplier of equipment and services to the freight rail transportation market. Its business model in North America combines freight car manufacturing, wheel services, repair, refurbishment, retrofitting, component parts, and leasing and fleet management services.

“We are very excited to be RFA’s newest associate member,” said Tom Jackson, Greenbrier’s vice president of marketing. “As a long-time sponsor of the National Ethanol Conference, we have seen first-hand the important role that RFA plays in the industry. We look forward to continuing this beneficial partnership and contributing to the ethanol industry at the national level as its leading supplier of transportation equipment and services.”

“We’re always proud when companies like Greenbrier see the value of RFA membership and want to play an active role in the ethanol industry,” said RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Among our many objectives is leadership in logistics and working to improve transportation efficiency, and the rail industry and those who serve it are an important part of our work to ensure the safe transport of fuel ethanol. We’re looking forward to working with, and serving, Greenbrier’s team.”

Gov. Walz establishes biofuels council
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order in September establishing a Governor’s Council on Biofuels that will advise the governor and various state agencies on the role of biofuels in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and recommend policy and budget proposals to foster growth in the production and use of biofuels.

“Farmers are the backbone of Minnesota’s economy,” Walz said in a series of tweets. “But recent action at the federal level has left many Minnesota farmers struggling to make ends meet. ...That’s why I launched the Governor’s Biofuels Council to support our farmers and renewable fuel producers. Amid uncertainty in Washington, it’s critical that we provide stability at home.”

Within the executive order, Walz noted that Minnesota was an early leader in promoting biofuels production and use. However, the state is not on track to meet its petroleum replacement goals. “In recent years, a combination of low market prices and changes in federal policy has been a headwind to growth in biofuels, particularly in the commercialization of advanced biofuels,” he said in the executive order. “In order to make progress, we need ideas for policy and investment in biofuels development and utilization that are bold, practical and broadly supported by a range of interests.”

Under the executive order, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture will convene the council and provide staffing and administrative support. The MDA is directed to submit a record to the governor based on the council’s recommendations by Nov. 1, 2020. The council is to consist of 15 members appointed by the governor representing agriculture, the biofuels industry, transportation, environmental and conservation interests, and other relevant stakeholders.

Whitefox Technologies Ltd. joins Minnesota Bio-Fuels
Membrane technology provider Whitefox Technologies Ltd. has joined the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association as a vendor member.

“We are pleased to welcome Whitefox as our newest member. Whitefox’s membrane solutions are designed to provide ethanol plants with flexibility in operations and improved efficiency and profitability,” said Tim Rudnicki, Minnesota Bio-Fuels’ executive director.

Based in the United Kingdom with operations in the U.S., Europe and Canada, Whitefox’s membrane-based dehydration technology—Whitefox Integrated Cartridge Efficiency—is currently installed in six plants in the U.S.

Paul Kamp, Whitefox vice president of business development North America, said the company helps identify bottlenecks at ethanol plants and simulates the impact of using its membrane solutions to yield higher production rates, improve plant heat integration and reduce operations and maintenance costs.

“A Whitefox system improves a plant’s carbon intensity scores by reducing energy use and makes the plant easier to run by eliminating recycled load and fluctuations in distillation,” he said.
Kamp added that ICE can be integrated into existing ethanol plants with minimal disruption, while its membrane technology can also be utilized as an upgrade in greenfield plants. Whitefox will be starting up its first installation in Minnesota at Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. in Benson this fall.