Bio-Renewable Group offers proven technology, impressive engineering & construction capabilities

Wanzek, CJS, SUITT combine resources, utilize Vogelbusch process technology, to form single-source ethanol plant design/build firm
By | March 01, 2002
Highly regarded by ethanol plant design/build firms in the Upper Midwest as a dependable and experienced heavy industrial contractor, Fargo, N.D.-based Wanzek along with Omaha-based C.J. Schneider Engineering (CJS) and international construction giant SUITT (a BE&K company) have joined forces as Bio-Renewable Group: Energy Engineers & Constructors, a powerful new design/build alliance that utilizes the process technology of Vogelbusch USA, Inc.

The formation of the alliance was publicly announced last month prior to the National Ethanol Conference: Policy & Marketing in San Diego, Calif., where the group sponsored a luncheon for the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), making an impressive industry debut before a crowd of over 600. A week after the conference, company officials told Ethanol Producer Magazine the team has secured letters of intent from at least four future producers, each planning to build 30-40 mmgy plants in the U.S. The group also indicated that it had received verbal commitments from a number of groups in the early stages of development.

How the alliance formed

Bio-Renewable Group is, according to the companies involved, a full-service single-source provider of construction and design-build services for the ethanol industry and, because of the proven experience of the team, the group must be recognized among the top global providers of ethanol plant technology, design and construction.

"The idea to form an alliance was a joint realization between each of the companies involved in Bio-Renewable Group," said Wanzek Executive Vice President Jon Wanzek. "Needless to say, there is a rising demand for ethanol production and use - both at home in the United States and in Canada, Mexico and abroad. This new team allows us greater flexibility to share resources and take on projects of any size - from the smallest projects to the 100 million gallon a year plants. Our clients will have access to all the resources they need, in one consortium."

The seed that would eventually become Bio-Renewable Group was planted, Wanzek said, when he and C.J. Schneider Engineering began discussing the idea of an alliance last year. Shortly thereafter, SUITT/BE&K became engaged in the discussions and joined the team. Because of SUITT's ability to procure and manage large national process and industrial contracts, the company is a valuable asset to the group, Wanzek said. Longtime ethanol technology leader Vogelbusch augmented the team as a technology supplier, making Bio-Renewable Group a "unified, seamless, single source firm."

"I think it's the best of both worlds," Wanzek told Ethanol Producer Magazine. "Wanzek has a great deal of experience (with ethanol plant construction), but I can't tell you how much it brings to the table to have the most experienced ethanol provider in the world on your team; I have great confidence in this group. We believe our experience, and especially our abilities, are unsurpassed."

Plant building experience

For more than a decade, Wanzek has been providing millwright, equipment installation, process piping, structural steel, crane services and mechanical and civil construction services to ethanol projects in North America. The 31-year-old company has worked with respected ethanol companies such as Broin & Associates, Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), Cargill, MCP and many others. Wanzek is currently working on the expansion at Al-Corn Clean Fuels, in Claremont, Minn., where it was originally the general contractor. The company was the millwright and structural steel subcontractor on the Northern Lights plant in Milbank, S.D. and Dakota Ethanol in Wentworth, S.D., for Broin & Associates.

"The majority of our growth in the last 15 years has been in the upper Midwest," said Will Stark, Wanzek Business Development Manager. "Of course, now we are unlimited geographically (with the formation of Bio-Renewable Group).

Stark said Bio-Renewable Group is willing to invest resources in "green energy" - not only ethanol but renewable diesel as well.

Wanzek employs more than 400 employees at peak season, in addition to a permanent office staff of 26.

As Wanzek has done in the past, Bio-Renewable Group will make every effort to subcontract in local communities and involve area residents in ethanol projects whenever possible, Stark said, adding, "Community involvement is a major key to the success of bio-renewable projects."

Plant design and operation

C. J. Schneider Engineering, which is both a process and detailed-design firm, has been designing grain processing and chemical plant facilities for over 24 years. Its entire staff has come out of the processing industry with broad experience ranging from engineering manager positions to plant managers and vice president positions. CJS staff includes those whom have designed, built and operated ethanol plants as well as biomass, starch, oil seeds, and wet and dry corn milling plants.

"I'm very excited about the team we have created," said CJS President Chuck Schneider. "We've assembled a solid team that has the ability to manage projects of any size, has virtually unlimited resources manpower and a proven technology in Vogelbusch. . . for our clients, these qualities simply equal less risk."
Schneider said CJS brings process design, detailed engineering, project management, and "fast-track" design/build experience to the team. All engineering disciplines and resources are in house, he said.

The process design
The Bio-Renewable Group utilizes process design provided by Vogelbusch USA, Inc., a leading supplier of technology to the North American ethanol industry.

"Vogelbusch USA is one of the most successful suppliers of technology to the fuel alcohol industry in North America. Of all operating fuel alcohol plants in the United States and Canada, more are employing Vogelbusch know-how than any other," said Dan Mahon, a Vogelbusch engineer and spokesperson. "Fourteen Vogelbusch designed facilities in the U.S. currently produce over 600 mmgy of fuel ethanol and high quality industrial alcohol."

Mahon said continuous development work by Vogelbusch USA's parent company in Austria (Vogelbusch GmbH), coupled with constant feedback from plant operations, ensures that all technology is "state-of-the-art." The latest advances are made available to existing clients, as well as prospective ones. Currently, Vogelbusch USA is confirming final designs for a new generation of fuel alcohol plants. By combining new DDGS drying technology with integrated evaporation and advanced distillation configurations, alcohol plants will now be able to reduce thermal energy input to below 30,000 BTU/gallon of alcohol produced, Mahon said.

"At the same time, these plants will have the lowest emission rates and exceed environmental standards. As always, these designs will offer ease of operation and achieve unparalleled on-stream factors, thus offering greatest returns on investment."

In addition to technology and know-how for power alcohol production, Vogelbusch USA also offers a complete line of fermentation and biotechnology processes, including expertise in the production of potable alcohol, industrial alcohol, citric acid, acetic acid, and other specialty chemicals. Vogelbusch also supplies energy-efficient molecular sieve dehydration units, among the most advanced on the market.

"Because it brings together world-class technology and engineering with construction experience and capabilities that are second to none, the Bio-Renewable Group offers the highest quality plant design and construction available today," Mahon said. "Vogelbusch USA is excited to be involved with this new partnership.