Butamax buys Nesika, says it will bring jobs, demand for grain
By Fred Arnold Telescope publisher
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Those were the sentiments of Stuart Thomas, CEO for Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, following Monday’s announcement announcing the sales of Nesika Energy LLC of Scandia to Butamax in a 50/50 joint venture with British Petroleum and DuPont.
Thomas said the Wilmington, Del., company is excited to be able to make the announcement formal. He stated officials for both entities have been working on this deal for “quite some time” and the results will be nothing but positive for the biofuels industry and the people of Republic County.
“We re going to be making a domestically produced product that stays domestic,” he said. “It will be manufactured using U.S. produced corn, grown by U.S. farmers and used in U.S. plants.”
The Butamax chief executive officer told the Telescope that as the company gets acclimated to working in the Scandia facility, Republic County and north central Kansas would see a big uptick in growth and economic development. He said job growth and facility expansion is part of their planned growth.
“We are very excited,” Thomas added. “We are going to add to the demand for local grain and we are going to bring more families to the area by adding good paying jobs.”
Thomas said an exact number of jobs created could not be estimated but noted that there would be permanent full-time jobs created as well as long term jobs created through construction and expansion phases of the plant.
“We see this as a positive in that we can take advantage of domestic products with local inputs,” he added.
Thomas said one of the big reasons Butamax, BP and DuPont was able to put the sale with Nesika together was due to the Nesika personnel, ownership and the facility itself.
“We’ve studied a lot of ethanol plants over the years, and Nesika was exactly what we were looking for,” he said “When we look at what the Nesika people put together, it was clear this is a great story and a great business that they have built. Nesika is unique in that they are a small plant integrated nicely within their local community, and being a part of that local community is going to be very important to us.”
Thomas said the name of the facility will remain unchanged. As the company gears up, people will notice little change at the plant, and a lot of good, positive things will be happening long-term.
“This is going to be a very big, very positive thing for the industry, for our product and for the area,” he said.
Plant will demonstrate new renewable energy technology
Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, based in Wilmington, Del., announced Monday the acquisition of Nesika Energy LLC and its ethanol facility in Scandia.
Butamax is a a 50/50 joint venture between BP and DuPont, combining expertise in fuels with industrial biotechnology.
Butamax will start the detailed engineering work to add bio-isobutanol capacity to the Nesika facility. Nesika will continue to produce ethanol before and after adding bio-isobutanol capacity.
Bio-isobutanol is a cost-effective alternative to isobutanol derived from fossil feedstock. Produced from renewable feedstocks, it offers both a valuable option for growing the renewable content of gasoline and a lower carbon alternative to fossil-derived isobutanol in existing chemical applications.
As a fuel, it can be blended with gasoline in higher concentrations than ethanol without compromising compatibility or performance.
Bio-isobutanol blends do not suffer from the water solubility issues of ethanol, which means they can be transported via existing fuel pipelines.
In the chemicals industry, it is used both directly and as an important building-block for a wider range of products.
Dev Sanyal, BP’s chief executive of alternative energy, said, “With the largest operated renewables business among the major oil companies, BP is committed to being a part of the global transition to a lowercarbon future. We invest in renewables where we believe we can build commercially viable businesses at scale, and this project, which brings together BP’s and DuPont’s complementary expertise, is another important step in that direction.”
“To drive growth in US manufacturing, we must employ disruptive thinking and innovation to unlock the power of renewable raw materials,” said William F. Feehery, president of Pont Industrial Biosciences. “With the purchase and planned build-out of the Nesika Facility to include bio-isobutanol production, Butamax is taking the next step forward in advancing the bioeconomy, which supports growth and opportunity in rural communities.”
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the Nesika site and would like to welcome Nesika and its employees to Butamax,” said Stuart Thomas, Butamax CEO. “The Nesika facility will serve to demonstrate our technology at scale as well as validate process and biocatalyst improvements.
“Our plan is to broadly license our technology, and Nesika and the technology deployed at the site will play a key role in that activity.”
DuPont, BP and Butamax have worked corroboratively with the state of Kansas on this opportunity.
“We are pleased that Butamax has selected Kansas as the home of its first production facility,” said Kansas Secretary of Commerce Antonio Soave. “Kansas is a great state to locate for innovative, bio-based businesses looking for a skilled workforce, locally grown feedstocks and bioeconomy expertise.”
“We see Nesika Energy’s future to be full of growth and opportunity as a result of this sale to Butamax,” said Jerry Stowell, president of the board of directors of Nesika Energy. “The board and all the investor owners are proud of Nesika’s past success and are excited that now, as part of Butamax, Nesika will play an important role in the development of this new bio-isobutanol product while continuing to be an important member of this community.”
Butamax believes bio-isobutanol’s many applications across a variety of industries, when coupled with commercial-scale production, have the potential to be a strong step forward in the growing bioeconomy. It is estimated that the bioeconomy today contributes $393 billion into the United States each year and supports 4.22 million jobs, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates, many of them highskilled, in rural areas across the United States.
When the newly acquired facility in Kansas has bioisobutanol production capability, it will be used as a demonstration facility for potential licensees to see the technology in operation and serve as a proving ground for future developments.
Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC was formed to develop and commercialize bioisobutanol as a next generation renewable biofuel and chemical. The company benefits from the combination of DuPont’s industrial biotechnology experience and BP’s global fuels market knowledge. BP LLC is one of the world’s leading integrated oil and gas companies. The company provides customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants and the petrochemicals products used to make everyday items as diverse as paints, clothes and packaging. The renewables business, Alternative Energy, is currently focused on two significant businesses: biofuels and wind power generation.
DuPont Industrial Biosciences works with customers across a wide range of industries to make products and industrial processes more efficient and sustainable. Through a combination of agriculture, biotechnology, chemistry and material science capabilities, the company advances market-driven, biobased solutions to meet the needs of a growing population, while protecting the environment for future generations.
On October 2, 2013, Butamax announced that it had begun Phase 1 of a retrofit of Highwater Ethanol’s plant in Lamberton, Minn., for the production of bio-isobutanol. The separation technology package includes a corn oil removal system and is an integral part of a full retrofit to bio-isobutanol production. Construction is now complete, and the facility is in full operation, according to the company’s website. For more information go to www.butamax.com