Business Briefs

People, Partnerships and Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | March 10, 2011

1. Tony Newton joined Verenium Corp. as an ethanol plant field technician. He is an expert in all facets of dry grind and wet mill operations, including fermentation, distillation, evaporation, corn oil extraction and drying. Newton also has extensive experience in construction, start up, and engineering functions at multiple dry grind and wet mill facilities and was instrumental in developing high yielding corn oil extraction and plant syrup evaporation technologies in his previous roles. As a field technician, he will work closely with customers ensuring that Verenium’s grain processing enzymes meet their needs and expectations. Prior to joining Verenium, Newton spent more than 10 years in engineering roles and as plant/area manager of various ethanol plants including Center Ethanol Company, Ace Ethanol and Tate and Lyle in Loudon, Tenn.

2. The Renewable Fuels Association and Propel Fuels have seats on an advisory panel of the California Air Resources Board. Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis for RFA and Jim Iacoponi, vice president of operations for California biofuels retailer Propel Fuels, will participate in periodic reviews of the state’s low carbon fuels standard (LCFS) program and provide input on issues related to implementation. The first was held Feb. 16. Specifically, the topics addressed by the advisory panel will include the program’s progress against LCFS targets, possible adjustments to the compliance schedule, lifecycle assessments, advances in fuels and production technology, fuel and vehicle supply availability, the program’s impact on the state’s fuel supplies, and other issues.

3. Growth Energy added seven professionals to its growing staff. Hillary Price, public affairs associate, previously was deputy press secretary for Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D. Ryan Welsh, account manager assisting with membership development and outreach, spent 12 years at KSFY Television, in Sioux Falls, S.D., in advertising. Cynthia Witkin director of state government affairs, has 15 years on the hill representing trade associations and most recently the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. Nicole Schofer, research coordinator, previously worked on Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ speechwriting team as senior researcher, and for U.S. News and World Report. Chris Bliley, director of regulatory affairs, most recently was a director at The Nussle Group and served as the associate administrator of the U.S. EPA from 2007-’09 running the agency’s office of congressional and intergovernmental relations. John Fuher, director of government relations, previously served as Budget Analyst for Agriculture and Trade for the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and worked as legislative assistant to Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. Carrie Emert, American Ethanol sponsorship manager, previously managed  partnerships for Richard Childress Racing.

4. Ryan Carlson joined the BioAg Group of Novozymes. Based in Sioux Falls, S.D., he is assuming all sales responsibilities in the state working with the distribution channel as well as growers. A native of Lakefield, Minn., he worked on local farms before attending Augustana College, in Sioux Falls, and working in sales. “We are pleased to have Ryan join our dynamic sales team and begin to utilize his natural sales abilities to grow our business in South Dakota,” says Dorn Severtson, business manager of the U.S. Novozymes BioAg Group.

5. Lars Herseth, board president of the American Coalition for Ethanol, received the Excellence in Agriculture award from the South Dakota Corn Growers Association and the Corn Utilization Council. The award honors an outstanding leader who exemplifies excellence through significant contributions to the agricultural industry as a whole. A third-generation farmer from Houghton, S.D., Herseth became president of ACE in November 2009. “Lars is indeed an outstanding leader, dedicated to both agriculture and to ethanol. His contributions have greatly advanced both industries,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE.

6. OPW Fuel Management Systems supplied and upgraded its fuel control systems to assist Propel Fuels in developing its self-contained fuel island terminals. The card readers and customizable color screens are integrated with high speed internet connections to allow customers to link their renewable fuel purchases to their CleanDrive account. The system allows consumers to see how their purchases of ethanol or biodiesel blends have lowered their carbon profile and see the barrels of imported oil their purchases displace over time. The upgrades to OPW’s software also support Propel’s gift card/promotional card system that is used to attract new business and get drivers to try renewable fuels for the first time.

7. Dresser Inc., the parent company of fuel pump manufacturer Dresser Wayne, has been acquired by GE with the closing of the $3 billion transaction early this year. The move significantly expands GE’s offerings for energy and industrial customers worldwide and is the latest in a series of acquisitions over the past 10 years that have transformed GE’s global energy portfolio. Dresser, based in Addison, Texas, has 6,300 employees worldwide and delivers compression, flow technology, measurement and distribution infrastructure and services to customers in more than 150 countries. Its portfolio includes valves, actuators, meters, switches, regulators, piping products, natural gas-fueled engines for compression, retail fuel dispensers and associated retail point-of-sale systems and air and gas handling equipment.

8. ExperTune’s PlantTriage can now share information with maintenance planning and other enterprise resource planning tools. PlantTriage’s diagnostics can be used to initiate work requests for instrument repairs, control tuning and valve replacements. The new integration tools can be applied to any of the 20 Problem-Solver reports that come with PlantTriage as well as in customized reports. “One key to delivering bottom-line results is to use control performance data in the daily workflow at each plant,” said John Gerry, president of ExperTune. “These tools streamline the workflow process, accelerating the pace of improvement.”

9. Pittsburgh-based HK Instrument Systems is promoting its microwave-based measuring system for the ethanol process. Efficiency of the ethanol process is directly related to how tightly the total solids are controlled after the first slurry tank, the company explains. Its HK-2 microwave analyzer facilitates tight control, and is not affected by changes in viscosity, flow and pressure, is easy to install and calibrate, relatively inexpensive, and does not drift, the company says.

10. GreenShift Corp. has signed a licensing agreement with Marquis Energy-Wisconsin for the use of its patented corn oil extraction technology in the 50 MMgy plant in Necedah, Wis., the second agreement for Marquis, which also installed the technology at its 110 MMgy plant in Hennepin, Ill. In Pixley, Calif., Calgren Renewable Fuels is licensing the technology for its 57 MMgy plant, with GreenShift providing engineering and construction services for the replacement of the existing tricanter-based extraction equipment with an Alfa Laval disc stack centrifuge in order to increase yields and reliability. Calgren will use GreenShift extraction systems for both thin and whole stillage. GreenShift recently announced it had received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office on the method for recovering oil from thin stillage.  It also received a similar patent notice on its trademarked One Kernel: Two Fuels corn oil refining process. The company says the process “drastically reduces refining times using off-the-shelf components, allowing smaller, integrated biodiesel systems to be built, installed and operated directly on-site at ethanol production facilities more cost-effectively as compared to larger, off-site greenfield facilities.”

11. Fluid Components International is calling attention to its ST51 Air/Gas Flow Meter as a solution to greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring, supporting the U.S. EPA’s best available control technology initiative. The company pointed out that EPA has identified 13 states needing to update their clean air plans, incorporating GHG emissions including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Wyoming. The ST51 Flow Meter is ideal for the measurement and monitoring of industrial plant GHG, the company said, with a no-moving parts design that’s nonclogging and operating over a wide flow range with low-flow sensitivity.
12. Applied Process Technology International LLC of Williamsburg, Va., has been accepted into the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s two-year Virginia Leaders in Export Trade program. Currently 40 companies are participating in the program, which offers incentives and assistance from a private-sector team of attorneys, Web designers, bankers, translators and freight forwarders. VEDP, which has assisted more than 140 companies in the past decade, has offices in Virginia, Belgium, Hong Kong, Mexico and Japan and representation in another 40 countries. APTI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bateman-Litwin, is the new company formed after the demise of ethanol process-provider Delta-T.

13. California-based EdeniQ Inc. will be supplying the 50 MMgy E Energy Adams ethanol plant in Adams, Neb., its third Cellunator devise. After a year in operation with two units processing the plant’s slurry, the company is installing a third unit to allow the processing of 100 percent of its feedstock. EdeniQ’s Cellunator is an advanced, industrial-grade milling device that cost-effectively reduces the average particle size of milled corn without increasing fines that can foul downstream processes. Plant manager Robert Miller said they expect yield increases greater than 4 percent once the third unit is installed.

14. Ribbon cutting took place Feb. 4 on the University of Tennessee’s Bioenergy Science and Technology Laboratory, part of its Center for Renewable Carbon. The new CRC Bioenergy Science and Technology Laboratory includes specialized facilities for biomass preprocessing and processing measurement, biomass characterization, and biomass conversion to fuels and potentially useful coproducts such as adhesives and carbon fiber. Additional CRC research capabilities include life cycle analysis and a biomass fractionation reactor. The CRC consolidates existing bioenergy and biomaterials research programs. The UT Biofuels Initiative will continue working to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of cellulosic fuels. This effort involves a well-known collaboration between UT and Genera Energy, the State of Tennessee, and DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol. Other continuing programs under the new umbrella include the SunGrant Initiative and  a wood utilization program.

15. California-based CoolPlanetBiofuels will be among the first receiving investments from a new investment fund, Energy Technology Ventures. ConocoPhillips, General Electric and NRG Energy have pooled $300 million in the joint venture to support clean-technology projects over a four-year period. CoolPlanetBiofuels is working on a biomass-based drop in gasoline replacement using a thermal/mechanical/catalytic process. In November, the company announced GE Energy Financial Services joined an $8 million funding round led by North Bridge Venture Partners.

16. Viaspace Green Energy Inc. reported results of recent independent testing of Giant King Grass as a feedstock for producing second-generation cellulosic biofuels that included sugar and lignin content, pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis to sugars. The tests showed a ton of Giant King Grass yields as much ethanol as a ton of corn stover, said CEO Carl Kukkonen. An acre of Giant King Grass yields up to 10 times greater tonnage than an acre of corn stover, he added. "With our high yield, we believe that Giant King Grass can reduce biofuel feedstock costs by up to 40 percent.”

17. Dyadic International Inc. announced it has received its seventh patent for its novel beta-glucosidase gene and its corresponding enzyme which when used in combination with other enzymes converts lignocellulose into glucose. The gene and corresponding enzyme was isolated from Dyadic’s patented and proprietary C1 fungus and was also identified through the genome annotation project conducted in conjunction with Scripps Florida. The traits have been incorporated into several advanced C1 biofuel strains resulting in higher levels of glucose production, lowering the cost of conversion.

18. Illinois-based Lechler Inc. announced a product release for headers and tank cleaning lances, including the option for customization to meet specific tank cleaning needs. The standard lance is fixed-length, plus a retractable lance that provides more protection from process fluids for the cleaning nozzle is also offered.

19. Spraying Systems Co. has published a 72-page “TankJet Tank Cleaning Products” catalog providing complete information on automated tank cleaning equipment. The catalog reviews key selection factors such as spray distance, impact, flow rate, coverage and more, and offers guidelines to ensure proper specification. Several optimization tips are provided to ensure users maximize equipment cleaning efficiency. Also included are technical specifications on high-impact fluid-driven tank cleaners, motor-driven tank cleaners, a wide range of tank cleaning nozzles and spray balls for cleaning tanks with diameters up to 100 feet (30 meters).

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