Green Plains announces progress with ultra-high protein

By Erin Voegele | November 05, 2021

Green Plains Inc. released third quarter financial results on Nov. 4, calling the three-month period challenging, but noting conditions are improving in Q4. Green Plains also discussed progress with ultra-high protein, clean sugars and carbon capture.

Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains, said the company expected the third quarter to be challenging, as margins started out very weak. Corn basis were at near record levels throughout the company’s platform, he added. As a result, Green Plains shifted much of its planned maintenance to the third quarter. Moving into the final quarter of the year, positive margins have returned, according to Becker. Green Plains’ year-to-date margins have averaged 16 cents per gallon and the company anticipates the year to finish strong.

During a third quarter earnings call, Becker discussed progress with Green Plains’ ultra-high protein ingredients. Based on current construction schedules, he said he expects more than half of the company’s production to be converted by mid-2022. The MSC ultra-high protein system at Green Plains’ plant in Shenandoah, Iowa, is fully operational, Becker said. The system at the Wood River, Nebraska, plant is operational, with shipments expected in November. Construction is underway to add the MSC technology to the Central City, Nebraska, and Mount Vernon, Indiana, facilities. Beker said Green Plains is also mobilizing equipment and a team to the Obion plant in Tennessee, and expects to break ground there within the next week or two. Later in 2022, the company’s first turnkey MSC system is expected to begin running the Tharaldson Ethanol plant in Casselton, North Dakota.

Becker said construction and engineering remains on pace to add the MSC system to the remaining Green Plains facilities by 2024, depending on the approval of permits. He said permitting in states like Illinois and Minnesota can take longer.

The clean sugar pilot plant at Green Plains’ innovation center in York, Nebraska, is fully commissioned and producing tote-scale samples of clean sugars. Becker said the company is beginning to evaluate the engineering and site selection for a larger project.

Becker also discussed the potential that carbon capture and storage (CCS) may offer Green Plains, and noted the company continues to perform due diligence on a variety of options, including direct injection, commercial use and pipeline transport of carbon dioxide.

Green Plains reported a net loss of $59.6 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, for the third quarter, compared to a net loss of $34.5 million, or $1 per share, reported for the same period of last year. Revenues were $746.8 million, up from $424.1 million.