Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | February 22, 2012

1. Interstates Companies has promoted Jaron Vande Hoef to a senior project manager, principal, with Interstates Engineering. In addition to project management, he is the point person on Interstates Engineering’s manpower planning efforts, and shares business development responsibilities. “Jaron has successfully led many of our complex projects,” said Interstates Engineering President Doug Post. “He has been instrumental in ramping up our project-level sales efforts and has regularly been the first to implement change initiatives through his projects.”

2. Inbicon A/S has certified Harris Group Inc. as meeting all quality, reliability and professional standards necessary for engineering projects involving Inbicon Biomass Refineries. Because Harris provides multiple engineering disciplines, it can handle every aspect of front-end and detail engineering, says Inbicon’s marketing manager Christian Morgen. Its experience in the power industry, pulp and paper projects and renewable energy are relevant as Inbicon’s cellulosic ethanol technology is deployed in North America. Inbicon has operated its $100 million biomass refinery in Kalundborg, Denmark, since 2010. 

3. The European project, Biocore, has announced the successful pilot scale production of ethanol from wheat straw. In the project, CIMV SA converted wheat straw into its main components at its pilot family in Pomacle, Marne, France, and supplied DSM Bio-based Products & Services BV with refined cellulose.  Using proprietary thermostable enzymes, DSM converted the cellulose into glucose, which was fermented into ethanol. In a final step, Arkema SA will use the ethanol to produce ethylene, a precursor of PVC.

4. Tenaska BioFuels LLC and NEDAK Ethanol LLC have entered into a seven-year asset management agreement that will provide working capital and risk management services to NEDAK’s 44 MMgy ethanol production facility near Atkinson, Neb. Tenaska will purchase corn and natural gas and market the plant’s ethanol and distillers grains. Tenaska has worked with NEDAK since October 2010. “This [agreement] is a positive step in the right direction for NEDAK,” said Jerome Fagerland, NEDAK general manager. “The company has been through challenging times, along with the rest of the ethanol industry, since the second quarter of 2010. We are looking forward to working with Tenaska BioFuels, which has the financial wherewithal to manage through volatile commodity markets and assist us in maintaining a balanced physical or financial grind margin. The agreement will enable us to take advantage of favorable forward grind margins as the market allows them, which will help NEDAK to improve its financial liquidity and reduce debt.”

5. Praj Industries Ltd. has acquired a majority stake in Neela Systems Ltd., a Mumbai, India-based water treatment and modular process system company focused on the biotech, pharma, life sciences and cosmetics industries. “Praj was scouting for acquisitions in the area of water and wastewater treatment since it entered the space in early 2010. Neela is a good fit as it addresses areas wherein Praj wants to build a stronger presence, globally,” said Pramod Chaudhari, chairman, Praj Industries.   

6. P4 Consulting announced a front line supervision program designed for ethanol plant lead operators, supervisors and production managers. The aim of the supervisor training program is to increase productivity, accountability and engagement of front line employees. A front line that requires less supervision frees up managers to implement efficiencies, innovate, and spend more time on value-added activities. The program includes a three-day training session in Colorado followed by individual coaching and webinar followup lessons.

7. The Advanced Ethanol Council welcomed two new members, Beta Renewables and ZeaChem Inc. Beta Renewables is a joint venture formed from the Chemtex division of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi and TPG. Its cellulosic ethanol facility in Crescentino, Italy, is expected to be completed later this year. ZeaChem announced in January that it has completed the core construction on its demonstration-scale facility in Boardman, Ore. Other companies on the council include Abengoa Bioenergy Corp., BlueFire Renewables Inc., Coskata Inc., Enerkem Inc., Fulcrum BioEnergy Inc., Inbicon A/S, Iogen Corp., Osage BioEnergy and Qteros Inc. 

8. BBI International and NEAtech LLC have announced a joint venture to develop a new international consulting service called BBI Consulting Services. By combining their experience and BBI International’s broadcast spectrum, the new venture will have the ability to offer a breadth of bioenergy consulting to companies and organizations worldwide, as well as state and federal departments in the United States. Leading the consulting group are two experienced bioenergy consultants, Rafael Nieves, CEO, and Mark Yancey.


*** In a roundup of news headlines of the past month: Biobutanol developer butylfuel Inc. has a new name, Green Biologics Inc., after merging with U.K.-based Green Biologics Ltd. 

*** Poet LLC has dropped its U.S. DOE loan guarantee and partnered with Royal DSM on the buildout of Project Liberty, which will hold a formal  groundbreaking March 13 for the 20 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant at Emmetsburg, Iowa.

*** Fiberight LLC received a conditional commitment on a $25 million USDA loan guarantee for its cellulosic ethanol facility planned for Blairstown, Iowa. Fiberight is partnering with Novozymes A/S on the conversion technology. 

*** Kansas 6 MMgy ethanol producer MGP Ingredients Inc. is teaming up with four Kansas universities and the Kansas Alliance for Biorefining and Bioenergy to develop biobased products such as foams, plastics and fuels from distillers dried grains with solubles. 

*** Mascoma Corp. is planning to first apply its proprietary consolidated bioprocessing technology platform in the corn-ethanol industry, offering a genetically-modified yeast that alleviates the need for most of the enzymes currently used. The company has signed agreements with ICM Inc., Lallemand Ethanol Technology and Valero Renewable Fuels Company LLC, as part of the commercialization strategy. 

*** Chippewa Valley Ethanol Plant Co. LLLP will receive a $500,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to help with a $2 million project to recover waste heat from the plant’s regenerative thermal oxidizer. 

*** Green Plains Grain Co., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., is expanding its grain storage by 1.9 million bushels in an agreement with JW Grain, St. Edward, Neb., about 40 miles from Green Plain’s 100 MMgy Central City ethanol plant.

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