Business Briefs

By STAFF | September 29, 2014

USGC announces regional director
The U.S. Grains Council has promoted Kevin Roepke to USGC regional director of South and Southeast Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Roepke has served as the USGC’s director of trade development in the China office since January. As regional director of South and Southeast Asia, Roepke will identify and address all relevant trade, technical and policy factors relevant to building and maintaining the market for U.S. coarse grains and co-products. Roepke joined the USGC in 2011 as the manager of international operations for marketing. Prior to joining the USGC, he served in various trading and merchandising positions with Archer Daniels Midland Co. 

Benson Hill Biosystems, CTC announce partnership
Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural biotechnology company, and Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, a market leader in Brazilian sugarcane, have announced the establishment of a partnership to develop and commercialize traits to increase sugarcane crop yield. The partnership will involve translation of Benson Hill’s technology from its Setaria viridis model plant platform to CTC’s commercial sugarcane varieties for further development and commercialization.

NCGA announces board members, presents award 
Delegates attending the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress in Washington recently elected five farmers to serve on the corn board.  Taking office on Oct. 1, the start of NCGA’s 2015 fiscal year, is new board member Jim Zimmerman of Wisconsin.  Current board members Bob Bowman of Iowa, Lynn Chrisp of Nebraska, Kevin Skunes of North Dakota and Paul Taylor of Illinois were re-elected. In addition, Martin Barbre, organization president, presented NCGA’s 2014 President’s Award to Rep. John M. Shimkus, R-Ill. The award is given annually at NCGA’s Corn Congress meeting in Washington to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture. 

Lawrence Livermore scientists named to ‘Most Influential’ list
Lawrence Livermore scientists Charles Westbrook and William Pitz have been named to Thomson Reuters list of  "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds." Their area of research is in developing chemical kinetic mechanisms for conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel, and for next-generation fuels, such as new types of biofuels being considered as potential replacements for fossil fuels. The chemical kinetic mechanism Westbrook and Pitz developed is used in computer codes to simulate combustion in internal combustion engines used in cars and trucks. These engine simulation codes can be used to optimize engine design to increase efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions.

Cool Planet announces
construction, operations team
    Cool Planet Energy Systems has announced the team that will lead construction and operations of its first commercial plant in the U.S. Randy Tucker will serve as vice president of capital projects, with overall responsibility for directing the project. He is joining the company after more than 25 years in project management and technical leadership roles. Before joining Cool Planet, he served as vice president of IT services for Peabody Energy. Robert Djelveh will serve as vice president of supply chain. He is an internationally recognized leader in supply chain management and procurement, having worked extensively in Europe, North America and Asia. Most recently, he co-led PricewaterhouseCooper’s and PRTM’s supply chains and energy groups in China. Rex Downen will serve as construction manager on-site at the facility in Alexandria, Louisiana. He brings more than 30 years of experience as a project manager and site construction manager in the oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation industries. He has managed refinery construction and other large scale projects for ConocoPhillips and others. Tim Palculict will serve as plant manager, with responsibility for plant operability, bringing the plant online and leading the plant’s operations. Palculict has more than 25 years of experience in plant management, having started up 12 plants in the fuel and petrochemical industries. He began his career with Mobil and has managed plant operations for a number of companies.

Hankinson Renewable Energy joins RFA
Hankinson Renewable Energy has joined the Renewable Fuels Association. The 132 MMgy North Dakota-based ethanol facility has 51 full-time employees and produces 400,000 tons of dried distillers grain with solubles each year. The plant is owned by Guardian Hankinson LLC, a joint-venture that includes ethanol producers Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co., Heartland Corn Products, Dakota Ethanol LLC, and Kaapa Ethanol LLC. Guardian Hankinson LLC is the third venture by Guardian Energy Management LLC following the acquisition of Guardian Energy LLC in Janesville, Minnesota, and Guardian Energy Holdings LLC in Lima, Ohio.

US Water Services adds team member 
    U.S. Water Services Inc. has announced the addition of Shawn Easterly to the its ethanol process technologies team. Easterly will provide energy center consultation and services to biofuels plants across the United States focusing on throughput, production efficiencies, and system optimization.