Biorefining Inc. restructures business plan

By Jessica Ebert | June 05, 2007
Activities at Biorefining Inc. stagnated late last summer, but growing interest in the think tank's biomilling and bioextraction technologies, and a part ownership in Argus Biofuels LLC, has breathed new life—and money—into the company. "What happened was that activities at Biorefining were pending on where we were going with two of our technologies," said Wes Hayne, CEO of Biorefining. "Things were slowing down, so we decided to restructure the company."

In the process, 11 million shares were retired and two executives resigned—President and Chief Science Officer Doug Van Thorre and Chief Financial Officer Kim Plahn. In addition, Biorefining was granted a 10 percent ownership in Argus, explained Hayne, who is also CEO of Argus, a holding company that plans to build three 30 MMgy biodiesel plants in the Midwest and act as part-owner of each. "Because of the restructuring we did, we have shareholders that have agreed to continue to finance the company," he confirmed.

Currently, Biorefining is negotiating with a potential partner, which the company plans to announce officially in early June, to market the company's biomilling technology to ethanol plants. This process fractionates kernels more efficiently than the front-end, dry-grind process currently used, Hayne explained. "We've gotten multiple phone calls from various ethanol organizations," he said. "Now they're more interested than ever in getting added value from any coproducts that they can extract from corn."

Biorefining's bioextraction technology is also receiving attention. The process—which converts residual plant material into specialty sugars used to make dietary supplements, nutritionally enhanced foods and pharmaceuticals—is of interest to one medical company that has started characteristics testing on the products for medical use. Biorefining has also signed a consulting agreement with Food Ingredient Technologies LLC to look for other commercial opportunities for sugar beet fiber, one of the products of the bioextraction process, Hayne said.

In addition, the company recently hired a new chief science officer, Thomas Yezzi, who has worked in the food ingredient industry for nearly two decades. Most recently, Yezzi served as vice president of operations for Protient Inc., a food ingredient company experienced in the fractionation and purification of milk, whey and soy proteins. With everything that's happening, "It's looking like exciting times again," Hayne said.