Business Briefs

FROM THE JUNE ISSUE: Ace to install D3Max, new aquafeed fermentation process, American Ethanol partners with UTI and more.
By Ethanol Producer Magazine | May 24, 2018

Ace Ethanol to install D3Max technology
Ace Ethanol will be the first ethanol plant to integrate the patented D3Max technology with its existing corn dry mill. Ace Ethanol has received approval from its board of directors and members to proceed with the design and construction of the corn kernel fiber-to-ethanol plant.

The integrated facility will also employ membrane-based ethanol recovery technology supplied by Whitefox Technologies. Ace has selected Fagen Inc. to build the new D3Max facility. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, pending final negotiations and signing of the contract with Fagen.

“The team at D3Max was extremely excited to hear the news that the Ace board and members approved moving forward with the project,” says Mark Yancey, chief technology officer for D3Max.

In 2017, Ace Ethanol and D3Max conducted pilot testing of the technology. “The D3Max process was able to meet or exceed our performance goals,” says Neal Kemmet, president and general manager at Ace Ethanol and Fox River Valley Ethanol LLC. “Based upon the pilot testing, D3Max demonstrated the ability to substantially improve our companies’ financial performance by converting corn kernel fiber to cellulosic ethanol.”

Based on the results of pilot testing, Ace and D3Max selected DSM to supply enzymes for the D3Max process, and Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits has been selected to supply the yeast.

“We have assembled the best team with the best technologies to build the first commercial-scale D3Max plant,” Yancey says. “We are employing a fully integrated design at the Ace plant, which will make the facility one of the most energy efficient ethanol plants in the U.S. with the highest ethanol yield per bushel. The combined facilities will be so efficient that the energy use of the new integrated facility will be approximately the same as the current Ace ethanol plant. We are very excited to make this announcement and begin the construction of what we believe will be the new benchmark for the industry.”

Yancey says the D3Max process is the only corn kernel fiber-to-ethanol process that will not require an independent engineer to validate the cellulosic ethanol production every 500,000 gallons. Yancey says D3Max production  can be measured directly, avoiding the cost of recertification required by EPA for in-situ corn kernel fiber processes and processes that mix corn starch or sugar with the cellulosic sugars.

ICM, KnipBio to create fermentation process for aquafeed
KnipBio Inc., an animal feed firm, and ICM Inc. have entered into a joint development agreement to create a commercial fermentation process for KnipBio’s single cell protein aquafeed, KnipBio Meal. As part of the agreement, they’ll explore new fermentation processes using ethanol and ethanol production process coproducts.

ICM will also handle process engineering and construction plans for commercialization of KnipBio’s research. ICM will have representation on KnipBio’s board of directors.

Steve Hartig, ICM’s vice president of technology development, says aquaculture needs “new sources of traceable, sustainable and resource-efficient protein and KnipBio’s single-cell protein (SCP) technology could be a major factor in meeting that need.

“Alternative proteins for aquaculture will be a multibillion-dollar market and this process enables the U.S. ethanol industry new opportunities for growth,” Hartig says.

The joint agreement, which is expected to last about one year, will be conducted at KnipBio’s research center in Lowell, Massachusetts, and at ICM’s research facility and pilot plant in St. Joseph, Missouri. The companies’ research will focus on scaling up fermentation, testing the viability of using ethanol-related streams as a fermentation feedstock, improving production economics and optimizing processes for different SCP products.

“ICM is a great strategic fit for us,” says Larry Feinberg, CEO of KnipBio. “Bringing together ICM’s best-in-class fermentation know-how and KnipBio’s innovative biotechnology will allow us to dramatically accelerate our commercial plans.

“ICM recognizes the potential of the alternative protein market and its importance for the future of ethanol,” Feinberg adds.

American Ethanol partners with Universal Technical Institute
Growth Energy’s American Ethanol program has teamed up with Universal Technical Institute as part of Growth Energy’s goal to work with automotive thought leaders to validate the engine performance capabilities of ethanol.

As part of the agreement, Growth Energy will support the student resource center at UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, North Carolina.

“We are thrilled to join Universal Technical Institute’s Business Alliance,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We know that most Americans look to technicians at their local auto shops and dealerships for advice on how to maintain their vehicles, so working with Universal Technical Institute, the nation’s leader in training highly skilled automotive technicians, will ensure the experts advising consumers have all the facts on American ethanol performance.

“We are fortunate to work with some of the most respected engine performance experts through the American Ethanol racing program,” Skor adds. “We look forward to facilitating a productive, ongoing dialogue between those individuals and UTI students and instructors on the role that biofuels play in engine performance.”

John Dodson, UTI vice president of business alliances & NASCAR, says, “Growth Energy will be a great addition to the list of partners who support us in educating students on the industry’s most current information and technologies. Today’s cars are sophisticated, high-tech machines and, as vehicle technology continues to evolve, renewable biofuels like ethanol will play an even more important role.

Growth Energy has a deep commitment to supporting automotive education and giving back to this industry through its American Ethanol program, and we are pleased and proud to welcome them to the UTI family.”

Lee Enterprises Consulting hires former assistant secretary of the Navy
Lee Enterprises Consulting has added Ret. Vice Admiral Dennis V. McGinn, former assistant secretary of Navy Energy, Installations & Environment, to its team of over 100 bioeconomy consultants.

McGinn served on active duty in the U.S. Navy for 35 years as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist. McGinn is former president of the American Council on Renewable Energy and a past member of the steering committee of the Energy Future Coalition, U.S. Energy Security Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Board, and CNA Military Advisory Board. He currently serves as a board member for the Rocky Mountain Institute, Customer First Renewables, Willdan Group Inc., and HALO Maritime Systems, and is a senior advisor to the Electric Power Research Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Center for Climate and Security. McGinn holds a degree in Naval Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, was a Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Fellow at the U.S. Naval War College, and was the 2018 recipient of the Holmberg Lifetime Achievement Award at the Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.

“I am very excited to have Adm. McGinn on board with our team,” says Wayne Lee, CEO of Lee Enterprises Consulting. “I met him when he won the Holmberg Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this year, and was very impressed with his vast experience in so many facets of the bioeconomy, both public and private.” Lee notes that McGinn's advice and counsel will be invaluable not only to clients, but to the  experts in the consulting group.

“This is a very diverse group of top flight experts, with many years of experience in their respective bio specialties, and is the only bioeconomy consulting group I know of that can assemble such broad multidisciplinary  teams to fit virtually any situation,” McGinn says. “I’m very pleased to be part of such a cutting edge venture.”