Business Briefs

People, Partnerships & Deals
By Ethanol Producer Magazine Staff | September 11, 2012

1. Alfa Laval Inc. appointed John Piazza as senior vice president of its process technology division. In his new position, Piazza leads the company’s sales and marketing efforts. Piazza joined Alfa Laval in 1994 as the regional sales manager of North America. He has also held the positions of business development manager and regional sales manager at Alfa Laval. Most recently, he served as the company’s North American regional business manager for the global vegetable oil segment. Prior to joining Alfa Laval, Piazza was responsible for technology sales to the food, power, refinery, inorganic chemicals, environment and telecommunications industries.

2. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., was presented with the Merle Anderson Award at the 25th Annual American Coalition for Ethanol Conference and Trade Show, held this year in Omaha. The Merle Anderson Award is named after the founder and first President of ACE. Each year it is presented to an individual in public service who has made significant contributions to the advancement of ethanol. Nelson has a proud record of supporting and encouraging the biofuel and renewable energy industries, first as governor of Nebraska, and now as a U.S. Senator representing the state. During his tenure as governor, Nelson started the Governor’s Ethanol Coalition to promote ethanol use nationwide. As a senator, Nelson was part of the successful effort to place the first energy title in a farm bill, and helped pass the renewable fuel standard into law. 

3. Mississauga, Ontario-based cellulosic ethanol company Woodland Biofuels Inc. has added William White as chief operating officer. White formerly served as president of DuPont Canada, and spent more than 30 years with the global DuPont company, where he held positions in operations, marketing engineering and leadership of global business units. As a long-time champion of sustainability, White has recently worked extensively with developing businesses as a board member of MaRS, the advisory board of the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. Woodland is constructing a cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in Sarnia, Ontario. The facility is scheduled to be complete this year.

4. Syngenta has signed trial agreements with Iowa-based Golden Grain Energy LLC and Nebraska-based Siouxland Ethanol LLC to demonstrate the value of Enogen trait technology for ethanol production. Each plant has signed on to complete a three-month trial of bio-engineered corn grain that is designed to enable more efficient, cost-effective, environmentally-friendly ethanol production. Enogen trait technology allows corn to express the alpha amylase enzyme necessary for dry grind ethanol production directly in the endosperm of the grain, eliminating the need to add liquid alpha amylase. Use of Enogen corn can increase throughput while potentially reducing costs in energy, gas and water usage.

5. France-based yeast company Lesaffre, and its business unit Fermentis, which is dedicated to the development and sales of yeast to the fuel ethanol industry, acquired Butalco’s xylose isomerase (XI) technology. Butalco is a Swiss company that develops yeasts for the production of biofuels and biobased chemicals produced using lignocellulsoic feedstock. With the new technology, Fermentis can finalize the construction of an industrial yeast strain suitable for cellulosic ethanol production. In addition, the sale of the XI technology to Fesaffre enables Butalco to invest more resources in other research and development programs, including yeasts for butanol production or xylose transporters.

6. Archer Daniels Midland Co. has appointed Todd Werpy as vice president of research and development. Werpy previously served as the company’s vice president of chemicals and advanced biofuels. In his new position, Werpy is responsible for all corporate research and development functions, and will help drive value for customers and shareholders by overseeing ADM’s efforts to expand its product portfolio. He will also work to strengthen research partnerships with government agencies, academic institutions and corporations. Before joining ADM, Werpy was employed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. ADM’s board of directors also appointed Marschall Smith as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. Smith formerly served as senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel at 3M Co. 

7. The Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, selected AdvanceBio Systems LLC’s SuPR2G Laboratory Scale Pretreatment Reactor to conduct basis research and development work related to the production of fermentable sugars, biofuels, and chemicals from lignocellulosic feedstock. The SuPR2G reactor will incorporate AdvanceBio Systems’ latest developments, including the “zero hold-up discharger,” which is capable of operating in either slurry or pneumatic product removal modes.

8. New York Energy LLC purchased ICM Inc.’s Selective Milling Technology, which includes the license fee, equipment and installation. The technology increases plant efficiency while maintaining throughput. Specifically, the process can increase ethanol yields, reduce enzyme use, decrease centrifuge and dryer load, and increase oil recovery. ICM also signed a contract with ACA Bio Cooperative Limitada to design a 40 MMgy dry-mill corn plant in Argentina. The facility is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2014.

9. The American Coalition for Ethanol elected three new members to its board of directors, including Paul Enstad, Doug Punke and John Christenson. Enstad is board of governors chairman for Granite Falls Energy LLC, a 60 MMgy plant in Granite Falls, Minn. Punke is CEO of Renewable Products Marketing Group, and ethanol marketing company in Shakopee, Minn. Christenson is a certified public accountant and partner at Christianson and Associates, an accounting firm that specializes in consulting for biofuel producers and rural businesses.

10. ExperTune Inc. announced that the new CompareMap tool for its PlantTriage Control Loop Monitoring system tool is now available. The new tool helps plant operators focus attention on changing plant conditions. It highlights the biggest changes in plant performance, and provides drill-down into corrective actions. CompareMap compares plant performance from two periods of time and highlights performance improvements and deterioration. The high-level plant graphic is based on Tree Map technology, which was developed by the University of Maryland as a way to visualize large amounts of data. When applied to real-time process control data, Tree Maps can be used to provide a snapshot to pinpoint trouble-spots in plant performance.

11. Peru-based Maple Energy plc completed its first export sale of ethanol to Mitsui & Co. Ltd. under an existing sales and distribution agreement. The shipment consisted of approximately 5,900 cubic meters (1.56 million gallons) of ethanol, which was shipped to the EU. Maple Energy’s 35 MMgy sugarcane ethanol began operations in March. The project includes a sugarcane plantation, ethanol plant, and a 37 MW power plant. The agreement with Mitsui was formed in 2010. Under the agreement, Maple Energy will sell Mitsui all of its ethanol production for a period of 5 years, with the exception of 20 percent of the plant’s production, which can be sold by Maple Energy domestically.

12. In mid-August, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a court order by the U.S. District Court of Delaware that had temporarily prevented Gevo Inc. from selling its biobased isobutanol into the automotive fuel blendstock market. The court order preventing Gevo from selling its output into the fuel market was originally put in place while Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC appealed the court’s decision to dismiss its motion for a preliminary injection. Gevo is now free to sell fuel into the transportation fuel markets, as well as the chemical, jet fuel, marine fuel and small engine fuel markets.

13. Leaders of eight biofuel industry organizations recently announced the formation of the Biofuel Producers Coordinating Council to jointly advocate for national policy for increased energy security through domestic biofuel projection. The new council includes Michael McAdams of the Advanced Biofuels Association, Brooke Coleman of the Advanced Ethanol Council, Mary Rosenthal of the Algae Biomass Organization, Brian Jennings of the American Coalition for Ethanol, Brent Erickson of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Tom Buis of Growth Energy, Anne Steckel of the National Biodiesel Board, and Bob Dinneen of the Renewable Fuels Association.

14. Eco-Energy Holdings Inc. announced a partnership with NuStar Terminals Operations Partnership LP to develop an ethanol unit train and storage facility, including outbound truck loading, at NuStar’s facility in Dumfries, Va. Under the partnership, each party will bear its own development and refurbishment costs in the facility, which will serve the northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., region. The terminal is expected to open in the fall of 2013. Once complete, the ethanol unit train terminal will feature approximately 6.5 million gallons of ethanol storage capacity and will be capable of distributing more than 16.8 million gallons of ethanol per month.


Share your industry briefs To be included in Business Briefs, send information (including photos and logos if available) to: Business Briefs, Ethanol Producer Magazine, 308 Second Ave. N., Suite 304, Grand Forks ND 58203. You may also fax information to (701) 746-8385, or email it to [email protected] Please include your name and telephone number in all correspondence.