Summit Group to develop 50 MMgy corn ethanol plant in Brazil

By Summit Group | September 02, 2014

Summit Group, an experienced leader in production agriculture, renewable energy and international agribusiness development, has announced it will construct a corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The Iowa-based Summit Group will develop a $140 million plant near Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, a leading agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans. 

Summit Group CEO Bruce Rastetter said that with final investments secured this summer, groundbreaking for the Mato Grosso corn ethanol plant should begin within six months. When operational by early 2016, the plant will produce 50 million gallons of ethanol annually.

“Summit Group couldn’t be more pleased to collaborate with world-class agribusiness leader Marino Franz in the development of an innovative, large-scale corn ethanol plant in Brazil,” said Rastetter. “We are excited to incorporate our experience and network of expertise into this partnership, to successfully produce sustainable, renewable energy in an area that continues to welcome value-added agriculture initiatives.”

Summit Group’s partner in the project is Fiagril, a diversified company whose operations throughout Mato Grosso and adjoining states include grain trading, biodiesel production, crop production inputs and infrastructure development. Fiagril is directed by its founder, Marino Franz, and his brother, Paulo Franz, who attended Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Summit Group’s ethanol plant in Brazil will utilize technology from ICM Inc. of Colwich, Kansas, which has designed and engineered 60 percent of the 102 corn ethanol plans in North America.

Bank of America has estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion gallons in 2022—nearly double the seven billion gallons currently produced by sugar cane ethanol plants. The Mato Grosso region has substantial corn production—both proven and potential—making corn-derived ethanol the most viable option to complement existing sugar cane ethanol production to fulfill a 6.5 billion gallon annual shortfall.  

“The benefits are significant with corn ethanol production because of the valuable co-products that will help feed the area’s growing beef, pork and poultry industries,” said Rastetter. “With the ability to grow two crops a year through improved genetics, the enormous potential for corn production in Mato Grosso will make this region of Brazil a global leader in the production of renewable fuels and corn ethanol.”