Business Briefs

By Staff | August 21, 2014

Green Plains Inc. has appointed Gene Edwards to its board of directors. Edwards served as executive vice president and chief development officer of Valero Energy Corp. until his retirement in April. He spent 32 years at Valero and was a key driver in the company’s entry into the ethanol business. 

The Greenbrier Companies Inc. and Watco Companies LLC have announced a new entity that will create a world-class network of railcar repair shops. The 50/50 joint venture GBW Railcar Services LLC will own and operate Greenbrier’s and Watco’s respective railcar repair, refurbishment and maintenance businesses. Greenbrier now operates 23 locations and Watco currently operates 15 complementary sites. GBW’s combined network will feature 14 tank car repair shops, 10 of which will be from Watco and four from Greenbrier. All will be certified by the Association of American Railroads as required by federal regulations. 

The Biotechnology Industry Organization has elected 19 of its directors to serve on its board executive committee for the 2014-‘15 term, including Jerry Flint, vice, president of biotech affairs and regulatory at DuPont. Flint will serve as BIO’s food and agriculture section governing board chair. Adam Monroe, president of Novozymes North America, will serve as BIO’s industrial and environmental section governing board chair. Christopher Standlee, executive president of institutional relationships and government affairs at Abengoa Bioenergy, will serve as BIO’s industrial and environmental section governing board vice chair. 

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued Patent No. 8,728,783 to Proterro Inc., protecting its proprietary photobioreactor. Proterro’s modular photobioreactor is made from off-the-shelf materials and integrates systems for optimizing light, water supply and sugar collection, providing for the cultivation of the company’s patent-protected sugar-producing cyanobacteria and the harvest of a fermentation-ready sucrose stream. Proterro has also received its first international patent. Mexico Patent No. 310854 mirrors the U.S. patent issued to Proterro that protects Proterro’s sucrose-producing cyanobacteria.

The U.S. Grains Council has added several new ethanol plants as members. Flint Hills Resources Arthur LLC, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, recently joined the USGC. The 110 MMgy ethanol plant, located in Arthur, Iowa, began operations in 2008 and was acquired by Flint Hills Resources in 2013. In addition to ethanol, the facility produces an estimated 330,000 metric tons of distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) each year. Hastings,  Nebraska-based Chief Ethanol Fuels Inc. also joined the USGC. The 70 MMgy ethanol plant began operations in 1984. In addition to ethanol, the facility produces DDGS, wet distillers grains, and corn oil. In addition, Heron Lake BioEnergy LLC has joined the USGC. The 59 MMgy plant located near Heron Lake, Minnesota., produces approximately 160,000 tons of DDGS each year.

Lindsey Blakely has joined the U.S. Grains Council as membership and communications coordinator. Blakely will assist with the needs, planning and preparation of ongoing and future projects for those departments. Lucas Szabo has also joined the USGC as the new global strategies coordinator. He will assist the global strategies and trade policy and biotechnology departments, organize staff and member travel, prepare arrangements for visiting teams, and facilitate program planning, correspondence, reports, information management and contracting. Szabo previously worked as an export sales specialist for an export firm in Washington, D.C.

Hopewell, Virginia-based Vireol Bio Energy LLC has joined Growth Energy. The 60 MMgy facility is the former home of Osage Bio Energy. Vireol purchased the facility last year and restarted the plant in May.

U.S. Water Services Inc. has announced a merger with ChemCal Inc. ChemCal is one of the largest independent water treatment and equipment solution providers in the U.S. Established in 1985, the company serves the mid-southern U.S. The merger allows Minnesota-based U.S. Water to expand its footprint in mid-market industrial water treatment. 

Deinove has announced the development of strains of Deinococcus bacteria with especially high performance cellulolytic properties. Deinove’s researchers have built a strain using its metabolic engineering platform capable of hydrolyzing cellulose as fast as the reference microorganism, Trichoderma reesei. The engineered Deinococcus has the ability to hydrolyze crystalline cellulose (paper) in approximately seven days.

Genera Energy Inc. has hired Lucas Graham as feedstock production and supply manager. He will be responsible for providing agricultural and managerial leadership for the company’s feedstock supply, including business strategies to optimize feedstock supply, planning and developing biomass feedstock supply projects and programs, and management of feedstock supply execution. Graham’s responsibilities also include developing, implementing, and managing feedstock best practices for commercial energy crop and feedstock production, including land acquisition, establishment, management, harvesting, and site storage of biomass feedstocks. Prior to joining Genera, Graham worked as an agronomist and precision agriculture manager, and a seed treatment facility manager for Helena Chemical Co.

Invista and LanzaTech have signed a research and development agreement focused on the development of gas-fermentation process technology for the production of industrial chemicals from carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas using proprietary Invista host organisms and metabolic pathways.