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USDA announces first Biomass Crop Assistance Program matching payments

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) has made the first matching payment under the new Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).

Show Me Energy Cooperative of Missouri was the first biomass conversion facility to became qualified under BCAP, a 2008 Farm Bill Program, and less than a month later was paying producers for biomass materials that FSA matched with BCAP collection, harvest, storage and transportation (CHST) program funds.

"As the Obama Administration continues laying the foundation for a stronger, revitalized economy, biomass has great potential to create new, green jobs for American workers," Vilsack said. "Biomass also has important environmental benefits to produce cleaner energy and reduce greenhouse gases."

"Our plant produces fuel pellets from agricultural waste products, but could expand to produce cellulosic liquid fuels,” said Kurt Herman, Show Me Energy Cooperative CEO, who also noted that pellets produced there are used to heat houses and livestock facilities. Kansas Power & Light Company's Sibley plant is testing pellets to determine if the biomass fuel could supplement coal for generating electricity.

The BCAP program encourages biomass conversion facilities to sign agreements with FSA (www.fsa.usda.gov). Once signed up, FSA confirms qualifications and assigns facilities identification numbers. Producers who sell eligible materials to qualified biomass conversion facilities can then apply for FSA payments that match the amount received from the facility. The payments are authorized under the CHST component of BCAP.

For example, if a qualified biomass conversion facility pays a producer $30 per dry ton for biomass, the material owner or producer would be eligible for a matching payment of $30 per dry ton from FSA. Eligible material owners or producers, who market eligible material to a qualified biomass conversion facility, may apply for the matching CHST payment at their FSA county office. An application must be submitted before the eligible material is sold and delivered to a qualified biomass conversion facility.

John Crane Power Transmission announces a new facility

John Crane Power Transmission – an ACE member company and a leading supplier of engineered sealing systems and associated products – has moved into its new power transmission manufacturing facility in Deer Park, Texas. This newly built 30,000-square-foot fully integrated facility includes space for manufacturing, warehouse, customer service, and engineering functions. The company was previously located in Houston.

“Our ongoing development efforts have enabled John Crane to create a steady stream of new turbomachinery products that offer outstanding operational reliability and significantly reduced cost of ownership for our customers,” said Steve Jadney, General Manager. “This new facility allows us to capitalize on our leadership market position with expanded development, customer service and manufacturing capabilities.”

East Tennessee biomass project selected by DOE for $4.9 million grant

Genera Energy LLC of Knoxville, Tennessee, in collaboration with the University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative, is among the five recipients of the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest round of biomass grants.

Genera Energy will receive up to $4.9 million to supply low-moisture switchgrass with an efficient bulk-format system that maximizes automated conveyance and handling. Researchers with the UT Institute of Agriculture will manage the project, which aims to achieve an overall process where switchgrass is dry chopped into bulk format on the farm, hauled to a nearby satellite location, stored in a protective facility, bulk compacted into trailers, and efficiently hauled for unloading at the handling unit of the biorefinery.

Genera Energy is the company formed in 2008 by the University of Tennessee Research Foundation as a vehicle to carry out the University’s clean, renewable energy projects and strategic partnerships, particularly related to the cellulosic ethanol and capital projects of the UT Biofuels Initiative. Genera Energy is collaborating with DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol to construct a demonstration scale cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Vonore, Tennessee, scheduled to begin operations by the end of this year.

Dr. Alvin Womac, UT professor of biosystems engineering, will be the principal investigator for the project.

"One of the challenges in launching the new biofuel industry in Tennessee and elsewhere is to reduce bulky plant matter to a consistent commodity with predictable specifications,” he said. “The aim of this project is to develop high-tonnage equipment systems to efficiently supply energy crop materials to the new Vonore, Tennessee, biofuels facility and other commercial-scale units.”

NuGen Energy selects CHS to market ethanol

CHS Renewable Fuels Marketing has signed an agreement with NuGen Energy, LLC, of Marion, South Dakota to market its ethanol production. NuGen Energy, which is wholly owned by Central Farmers Cooperative, has the capacity to produce approximately 100 million gallons annually.

“CHS offers us good exposure to other markets that we would not be able to access on our own,” says Doug Anderson, CEO of NuGen Energy. “We have nothing but confidence that CHS can find us the best price. We value their marketing and logistical expertise, as well as their risk management services.”

Central Farmers Cooperative acquired the former VeraSun plant in Marion from Doughtery Funding LLC. CHS replaces the plant’s precious marketer, Archer Daniels Midland.

CHS has 75 years of experience in energy production and distribution, including more than 30 years of marketing ethanol-blended fuels. In addition to its marketing services, CHS offers access to a breadth of related resources for ethanol production plants, such as DDGS marketing and grain origination.

ACE Director Ron Alverson named “Eminent Farmer” by SDSU

Ron Alverson of Chester, South Dakota, a member of the American Coalition for Ethanol board of directors, has been named an “Eminent Farmer” by South Dakota State University.

Ron farms approximately 2,500 acres with his son Keith and brother Larry. They raise corn and soybeans, specializing in ridge-till farming. Alverson was one of the first farmers in South Dakota to utilize GPS technology with variable-rate nitrogen application.

He is a founder and past president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association, a founder of the state’s corn check-off program, and a founder and current president of Dakota Ethanol LLC near Wentworth, South Dakota’s first farmer-owned ethanol cooperative. In 2002, Dakota Ethanol was chosen to host President George W. Bush, and Alverson had the honor of introducing the President to the crowd.

He graduated from SDSU with a bachelor's degree in agronomy. Ron and his wife Sue have two children, and each member of the family holds a degree from SDSU.

Novozymes appoints new President of North American Region

Novozymes has announced the appointment of Adam Monroe as the new President of its North American region. Monroe replaces Lars Hansen, who has returned to Denmark to head the company’s European region.

Monroe began his career with Novozymes in 1991 in the Process Engineering group. He has since served as Production Manger for Granulation, Regional Director of Supply Chain Operations, and Director of Supply Chain Operations, Americas. In April 2008, he was promoted with increased responsibilities for supply chain and capacity planning in the Americas and global planning for Novozymes.

Glacial Lakes Energy, Redfield Energy end management agreement

South Dakota ethanol producers Glacial Lakes Energy (GLE) LLC and Redfield Energy LLC announced a mutual agreement to terminate a Management Agreement effective August 31, 2009. The agreement, under which Glacial Lakes Energy provided management services to Redfield Energy, originated when the Redfield plant was constructed in 2005.

GLE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Glacial Lakes Corn Processors, a 4,000-plus member cooperative based in Watertown, South Dakota. It owns and operates the 100 mgy GLE plant in Watertown, plus a 100 mgy plant in Mina, located west of Aberdeen. Redfield Energy is a 50 mgy plant owned by approximately 850 members. Glacial Lakes has an 8 percent ownership stake in Redfield Energy and has a seat on its Board.

A press release states that with less than a year remaining on the original five-year management agreement, the Boards of both companies determined that it was in each other’s best interest to move from the existing agreement to a more independent operation for Redfield Energy. Both companies indicate a desire to continue cooperating in as many areas as possible and where economies of scale can be achieved.

“We want to continue to explore the advantages of our working together and, at the same time, recognize that the Redfield employees are a very capable and dedicated group. We have many common shareholders and believe this is a win-win for both companies,” said Jim Seurer, Glacial Lakes’ CEO. “As we discussed and worked through the final transition year, both Boards wanted to find an arrangement that fit the needs of both companies and we believe this accomplishes that objective.”

“Glacial Lakes helped prepare our employees for the opportunity to become more independent, and this alternative was very attractive to the Redfield Board of Managers. On behalf of the Redfield Board and employees, we compliment Glacial Lakes Energy’s management and staff for their support and contribution to our company over the past years,” said Redfield Energy Board Chairman Ron Frankenstein.

Mascoma moves toward commercial development, expands leadership team

Mascoma Corporation has announced several management reconfigurations as the company says it’s moving into its commercial development phase. Bruce Jamerson will transition from his role as CEO to the position of Chairman of Mascoma and of Frontier Renewable Resources, LLC, the company’s Michigan-based operating subsidiary. In the interim, the Board has appointed Dr. Jim Flatt, Executive Vice President of R&D and Operations, to serve as Acting President until a new CEO is hired.

Mascoma says its proprietary technology, called Consolidated Bioprocessing (CBP), enables the production of sustainable, low carbon cellulosic ethanol. CBP has been used in the company’s Rome, New York demonstration facility and will soon begin deployment at a full-scale cellulosic biofuel plant in Kinross, Michigan.

Osage Bio Energy and Perdue AgriBusiness partner to expand barley market

Osage Bio Energy has entered into an exclusive agreement with Perdue AgriBusiness to source barley to operate its first barley-to-ethanol bioprocessing facility. Perdue is a leading grain supplier in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The Appomattox Bio Energy plant is located in Hopewell, Virginia, the first of its kind on the East Coast.

“We are thrilled to be working with Perdue AgriBusiness; their partnership validates our idea that this region is ready to revive the market for barley,” said Craig Shealy, president and CEO of Osage Bio Energy. “Perdue AgriBusiness is committed to working with local farmers to help make our goal of feeding our plant with locally grown barley a reality.”

Osage Bio Energy will use barley as its primary feedstock in ethanol production, creating a viable and consistent local market for the crop. The company will also produce a high-quality barley protein meal animal feed, along with renewable fuel pellets and food grade carbon dioxide.

Barley offers local growers a number of benefits. As a winter crop, it can be planted in fields that might otherwise be unused and provides growers with an incremental cash crop. Additionally, barley enables high soybean yields when double-cropped with soybeans. Osage Bio Energy’s goal is to procure all of its barley feedstock from within 100 miles of its facilities.

“Osage Bio Energy has a strong business model dedicated to creating opportunities for local agriculture,” said Dick Willey, president of Perdue AgriBusiness. “We are excited to play a role in building the local barley market, and look forward to working with the farming community to provide Osage Bio Energy with the barley it needs to create both fuel and livestock feed.”

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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