Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | August 15, 2011

1. Carl Swisher is the new sales manager for material handling products for 4B Components Ltd., an Illinois-based manufacturer of material handling and electronic components for bucket elevators and conveyors. Swisher has more than 20 years of experience in industrial sales and international business and most recently was sales manager for Tapco Inc.

2. Rick Serie has joined the American Coalition for Ethanol staff, based out of the organization’s Sioux Falls, S.D., office. “The addition of Rick as director of market development gives ACE unmatched real-world expertise in getting ethanol from the plant to the pump,” said ACE Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty. “Plants are becoming impatient with ‘kinks’ in the supply chain, and Rick’s experience as a supplier of E85 and midlevel blends at the ethanol plant level will be a great resource for producers considering their options.” Most recently, Serie was the CEO and general manager for Great Plains Ethanol LLC and Poet Biorefining in Chancellor, S.D. He served as a board member and chairman of the Renewable Fuels Association membership committee and also served in leadership positions of the South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association.

3. Syngenta AG announced plans to construct a state-of-the-art biotechnology research facility adjacent to its existing research campus in Research Triangle Park, N.C. The $71 million investment will utilize advanced technologies to accelerate the company’s efforts to develop agronomic traits to enable crops to better withstand complex environmental challenges. Work will focus on traits to help crops better tolerate climate variability and combat plant stresses such as drought. The new facility will build on previous work, including the release of Enogen, an enzyme-containing corn variety designed for the ethanol industry.

4. Lechler Inc. added a miniwhirling tank cleaning nozzle to its line of products for cleaning tanks and vessels. The miniwhirling nozzles are designed to clean smaller vessels up to 3 feet in diameter such as kegs, drums, barrels and totes. Models include a PVDF miniwhirly, a stainless steel unit that fits into 1-inch wide openings, a stainless steel slip-on nozzle and a heavy-duty model. All models have rotating heads.

5. Pursuit Dynamics PLC has signed agreements with Advanced BioEnergy LLC to install its ethanol reactor system at Advanced BioEnergy’s three plants in South Dakota and Nebraska, which have a combined capacity of 195 MMgy. It also has signed with Front Range Energy LLC to install its system at the 50 MMgy plant in Windsor, Colo. The company provided updates on other installations, saying that Pacific Ethanol Inc.’s Boardman, Ore., plant system is in full commercial operation and Marquis Energy LLC’s Hennepin, Ill., plant and Mid America Bio Energy & Commodities LLC installations came online this summer. Red Trail Energy LLC’s system was expected to begin commercial operation in August. In all, the company said the total number of plants installed or contracted to be installed totals 13, with a combined capacity of 914 MMgy.

6. Wisconsin-based Hydro-Thermal Corp., a family-owned manufacturer of direct steam injection heaters, received the Governor’s Export Achievement award at the Wisconsin International Trade Conference. It has been a year of recognition for the company. Earlier, it was recognized as one of the state’s top manufacturers by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the accounting firm Baker and Tilly and the law firm Michael Best & Friedrich LLP as the manufacturer of the year in the small business category.

7. Texas-based TechCorr USA LLC has opened an office in Rapid City, S.D., to serve the region. As an inspection and testing company, TechCorr offers a wide range of corrosion and mechanical integrity engineering assessments for pipes, tanks and refractory linings. It offers both external and internal corrosion assessments, risk analysis, as well as process and flow modeling for identification of critical areas and bottlenecks.

8. U.S. Water Ethanol Process Technologies, a subsidiary of U.S. Water Services Inc. has developed an additive, trademarked COR, that increases the removal of corn oil from mechanical separation systems.  Using a consistent field test procedure, the company has shown COR increases corn oil extraction rates 25 to 100 percent. The additive also results in longer operation between cleaning cycles as well as softer deposits that are easier to remove. At one ethanol facility, corn extraction increased from 0.22 pounds of corn oil per bushel of corn to 0.48 pounds, with a reduction in cloudiness and solids resulting in the plant’s income from the extracted corn oil doubling.

9. Tennessee’s Genera Energy LLC received the 2011 Innovator award from the South Growth Policies Board, a think tank created by 13 state governors to improve economic opportunities and quality of life in the South. Genera is currently developing a Biomass Innovation Park for the processing and storage of biomass for cellulosic ethanol production, primarily switchgrass being grown on more than 5,000 acres in eastern Tennessee. Genera has partnered with DuPont for the operation of a demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery. Genera Energy is a for-profit company wholly owned by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation.

10. Superior Industries released the market’s first primary and secondary belt cleaning system that shares a common mounting point, which avoids adding to the  conveyor’s structure to add the secondary cleaner. The Exterra SFL dual belt cleaner’s patented tensioning system can be set at installation for the life of the blade. The cleaner is designed to nearly eliminate material carryback that can build up on idlers and pulleys or create unwanted piles under the conveyor. Headquartered in Morris, Minn., Superior Industries designs and fabricates a full line of conveyor equipment.

11. BinMaster Level Controls has teamed up with Sprint on its BinView machine-to-machine inventory management solution that allows businesses to monitor inventory in their bins, tanks and silos. The Web-based system provides bin level information on demand, combining BinMaster SmartBob level sensors and the Sprint wireless networks to make the data easily available via the Internet. The BinView interface is cloud-based and works independently of the company network, so it is available virtually anywhere, anytime to any authorized person. A popular BinView feature is to send automated level alerts to a cell phone or via email any time a bin level reaches a predetermined high or low level.

12. Verenium Corp. has signed a lease agreement for new office and laboratory space in the Torrey Pines area of San Diego. The move will take place in mid-2012 when Verenium’s current sublease expires. The sublease was negotiated as part of the sale of the cellulosic biofuels business last year to BP Biofuels of North America. An enzyme developer for the global food and fuel markets, Verenium earlier received recognition at the Bright Lights Conference, which focuses on publicly traded companies with “disruptive and market changing [intellectual property].” Verenium received the Clarus award presented by MDB Capital Group as the top company in its industry with the highest technical score and number of patent grants.

13. The latest addition to the Bete Fog Nozzle Inc. range of spray nozzles is the Xaer air atomizing spray nozzle, pictured, that provides a full-cone, round-spray pattern suited for high viscosity liquids. Utilizing external mixing, the flow rate is not dependent on air pressure, resulting in easier control. The company also introduced the new HydroWhirl Poseidon, a clean-in-place rotating tank-washing nozzle that combines slow-moving rotation and high-impact spray pattern for more efficient leaning in tanks up to 22 feet in diameter. The bearingless nozzle is self-cleaning and self-lubricating. 

14. Easy Energy Systems Inc. continues to gear up for growth, hiring an executive team to help it meet what it describes as heavy demand for its Modular Energy Production System, a small-scale system designed for noncorn, waste feedstocks such as whey, soda pop and waste paper. The company has new executive offices in Phoenix and expansions underway in Welcome, Minn., and Emmetsburg, Iowa. Aerospace veteran Bill Hinz was recently hired as CEO. Joining the company as president and director of sales and marketing is Robert Molsbergen who most recently was president of a Phoenix-based helicopter company. Brian Fifer has taken the role of chief financial officer and Chuck Jirauch has accepted the position of general counsel and vice president of strategic development. Jirauch has experience as a trial attorney in the areas of intellectual property and technology law litigation, and most recently worked with early-stage technology companies.

15. FilterSense Inc. is offering equipment applicable to the ethanol industry. Its loop-powered particulate transmitter and filter leak/emissions detector can be used in baghouses, cartridge dust collectors and cyclones to aid in environmental compliance, eliminate cleanup costs and detect emissions before they are visible. The FilterSense liquid mist flow monitors can be used in process analysis and control, environmental protection, contamination detection and equipment protection such as turbines and compressors.

16. Martin Engineering Co. has added to its family of flow aid products. The Martin Sonic Horn is an acoustic cleaner utilizing low-frequency, high-pressure sound waves that cause particulates to resonate and become fluidized for easier cleanout. The sonic horn reduces downtime, maintenance and operating costs. Acoustic cleaning helps avoid structural fatigue or damage, prevents dry particulate buildup, increases efficiency and is especially effective around pipes and behind obstacles.

17. Novozymes A/S received the first Focus-Abengoa Foundation Sustainable Business award at a ceremony held at Abengoa’s headquarters in Seville, Spain. Teresa Ribera, the Spanish Secretary of State for Climate Change, presided over the presentation ceremony, accompanied by José B. Terceiro, president of the foundation and vice chairman of Abengoa. Novozymes won the Sustainable Business award in the large company category for its life-cycle studies regarding the carbon footprint of the enzymes supplied to Abengoa. Novozymes has been supplying Abengoa with enzymes since 2001. The award was created in November 2010 to allow Abengoa to publicly recognize its suppliers that are committed to sustainable development and combating climate change.   

18. Industrial Nanotech Inc. introduced Nansulate EPX, a chemical-resistant epoxy insulation coating that offers corrosion prevention, chemical and flame resistance. The two-part epoxy coating was created for insulation of pipes, tanks and equipment to reduce energy costs by up to 20 percent and stand up to harsh environments such as acids, bases and fuels. It can be applied with a texture sprayer, trowel or stiff brush while equipment is in-service. The water-based, low-odor, and low-VOC coating can be used to insulate metal and nonmetal surfaces up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, including steam pipes, boilers, valves, heat exchangers, ovens, chilled water pipes, and more.

19. Platts has a new daily ethanol price assessment, known as Platts German Fuel-Grade Ethanol T2 FOB Rotterdam. The assessment reflects ethanol products quoted in euros per cubic meter, delivered free on board to Rotterdam and holding appropriate sustainability certificates meeting Germany’s standard. Fuel-grade ethanol transactions that are not restricted by the country-of-origin and feedstock also are accepted in Platts’ assessment processes. With this launch, Platts now provides nearly a half dozen ethanol assessments, aimed at offering a more transparent view of price discovery. “We believe the new assessment will provide a robust and transparent benchmark to market participants not only in Germany, but the Americas and Europe at large, thereby meeting the industry’s need for a global ethanol floating-price reference,” said Ilana Djelal, managing editor of European petrochemicals at Platts.

20. Qteros Inc. and the University of Massachusetts Amherst have received two patents, extending the protection for their ethanol-producing organism dubbed the Q Microbe. One patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office covers intellectual property protection for genomic development and the use of gene combinations in Clostridium phytofermentans and other microorganisms to enhance the organism’s innate ability to hydrolyze biomass. The Japanese Patent and Trademark Office approved a patent on the process involving the microbe as well. Qteros calls its process the Consolidated Bioprocessing Platform based on the Q Microbe, which produces enzymes while simultaneously fermenting a wide range of biomass feedstocks into ethanol.

21. The Andersons Inc. has entered into a grain merchandising agreement with Trotter Inc., Arcadia, Neb., giving the company access to an additional 4.1 million bushels of storage in Nebraska. The Ohio-based Andersons has 275 MMgy ethanol capacity in three plants in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. It is a diversified company with interests in the grain, ethanol and plant nutrient sectors, as well as in railcar leasing and repair, turf products production, and general merchandise retailing.


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