Business Briefs

By Erin Voegele | January 26, 2017

Syngenta has appointed Ron Wulfkuhle as the new head of Enogen corn enzyme technology. Wulfkuhle brings over 30 years of agricultural industry experience to the position. Most recently, he served as head of GreenLeaf Genetics, which  was fully acquired by Syngenta in 2010. Wulfkuhle replaces Jack Bernens, who retired at the end of December. 

Acting on behalf of North European Bio Tech Oy, St1 has begun the analysis and signed letters of intent with Alholmens Kraft and UPM for a sawdust-based ethanol plant in Pietarsaari, Finland. The proposed production capacity of the plant is 50 million liters (13.21 million gallons) per year.

Green Biologics Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Green Biologics Ltd., a U.K. industrial biotechnology and renewable chemicals company, recently announced a strategic partnership with HOC Industries, a custom blender, packager and distributor of consumer and government products, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced Continental Carbonic Products Inc. plans to construct a 45,000-square-foot liquid carbon dioxide facility in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and purchase equipment to operate a dry ice manufacturing facility. The facility will source carbon dioxide from Pennsylvania Grain Processing LLC. As part of the agreement, Continental Carbonic is expected to enter a long-term land lease with the ethanol producer. The project is expected to create 60 new full-time jobs over the next three years and retain 10 existing positions.

Dürr Systems Inc. has announced the award of an order for one Dürr Ecopure RL60 rotary valve regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) from Corn LP, a Goldfield, Iowa-based ethanol producer. Dürr said Corn LP chose the system based on an advantageous comparison of projected maintenance costs and downtime, along with the system approach to automated bakeout for removal of particulate plugging.

Valero Renewable Fuels Co. LLC, a subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp., has joined the Renewable Fuels Association. Valero operates 11 corn ethanol plants and is the third-largest ethanol producer in the U.S with total annual production capacity of 1.4 billion gallons per year.

Abengoa Bioenergy Biomass of Kansas recently closed the $48.5 million sale of its cellulosic ethanol plant located in Hugoton, Kansas, to Synata Bio in an auction conducted under the Bankruptcy Code. Ocean Park acted as exclusive sell-side advisor to Abengoa. Ocean Park was involved in all facets of this transaction, including securing the debtor-in-possession financing, developing the marketing strategy, contacting over 200 parties in the sales process, and generating interest from multiple bidders in the auction.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has elected its board of directors, officers and executive committee for 2017. New officers will serve a one-year term during the 2017 calendar year. Those elected include Eamonn Byrne of Lakeview Plymouth Energy as president, Steve Bleyl of Green Plains Inc. as vice president, Bill Howell of Poet Biorefining – Coon Rapids as treasurer, Derek Winkel of Renewable Energy Group Inc. as secretary, and Monte Shaw as executive director. Elected to join the IRFA officers on the executive committee for 2017 are Tom Brooks of Western Dubuque Biodiesel, Craig Willis of Archer Daniels Midland Inc., and Rick Schwarck of Absolute Energy. 

The European renewable ethanol association (ePURE) has named Emmanuel Desplechin as its new secretary general, replacing Robert Wright. Desplechin, who joined ePURE in 2013, previously served as the association’s director for government affairs, and has a long career in the ethanol sector. Prior to joining ePURE, Desplechin held public affairs positions with the Danish biotech company Novozymes, and UNICA, the Brazilian sugarcane industry association, and has been secretary general of the Industrial Ethanol Association.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has added Cassidy Riley as its new communications director. Riley’s responsibilities include media and member relations, social media and Web communications, promotion of biodiesel and biodiesel coproducts, and many other duties. Riley most recently worked as the Central Iowa Field Director for Sen. Chuck Grassley’s 2016 reelection campaign. Prior to the campaign she clerked in the Iowa House of Representatives for Rep. Tom Moore.

Leaf Resources recently announced a collaboration with Novozymes to further increase the yields and efficiency associated with its Glycell biomass conversion technology, which operates at low temperature and pressure, and uses crude glycerin as a recyclable reagent. The process deconstructs plant biomass and produces concentrated cellulose and hemicellulose sugars. As part of the collaboration, Novozymes will use its expertise in biotechnology to customize its portfolio of enzymes to the Glycell process. The goal of the collaboration is to design a highly tailored enzyme package that allows the Glycell process to achieve superior performance, quality, and reliability for the production of high-value renewable chemicals. Leaf and its development partner, Claeris LLC, will then incorporate Novozymes’ tailored enzyme package into the biomass pretreatment section of integrated biorefineries.

The Renewable Fuels Association has announced the addition of KAAPA Ethanol Ravenna LLC to its membership. In September, KAAPA Ethanol Holdings closed on its acquisition of the former Abengoa Bioenergy ethanol plant in Ravenna, Nebraska. The facility uses 33 million bushels of corn to produce 90 million gallons of ethanol per year. KAAPA Ethanol Holdings owns and operates another facility in Minden, Nebraska, and its latest addition brings the company’s combined ethanol production capacity to 170 MMgy. This is the company’s second producer membership to RFA.