Iowa company breaks ground on Brazil corn ethanol plant

By Ann Bailey | April 06, 2016

The Iowa-based Summit Agricultural Group has broken ground on a 60 MMgy corn ethanol plant in Brazil.

Plans for the $115 million ethanol plant in Mato Grosso, a west-central agricultural state, have been in the works for about a year and a half. Ethanol Producer Magazine wrote about the project first in September 2014. Summit is building the $115 million plant in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, together with Fiagril. Plant construction is expected to be completed in mid-June 2017.

Fiagril is a diversified company with operations including biodiesel, grain trading, crop production inputs and infrastructure development. Kansas-based ICM Inc. will design the plant, which is expected to employ 90 people. The plant will supply domestic markets in Brazil and is the country’s first large-scale corn ethanol facility, Summit Agricultural Group said.

The ethanol plant will offset Brazil’s demand for domestic ethanol that sugar cane ethanol production cannot meet, said Bruce Rastetter, Summit CEO. Meanwhile, the new corn ethanol plant will introduce high-fiber coproducts and provide high-value animal feed to the Brazilian livestock industry, he said.

Rastetter called the groundbreaking of the plant, the only dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil, a significant day for renewable fuels, for Brazil and for his company. Through Summit’s expertise in sustainable agriculture, investment and renewable energy, the potential of a corn growing region poised to become a global leader of ethanol production will be realized, he said.        

Mato Grosso has set the standards for Brazilian agriculture and business development and that, with the ethanol plant, the region will grow to new heights in the area of renewable fuel, said Marino Franz, Fiagril founder.