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FS Bioenergia breaks ground on first dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil

Summit Agricultural Group has announced that it has broken ground on a first-of-its-kind dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil. The US$115 million FS Bioenergia plant is being built in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso state and at full capacity is expected to produce 60 million US gallons of ethanol (≈ 227.12 million litres) annually for domestic markets.

Bruce Rastetter speaking at the groundbreaking in Mato Grosso (photo courtesy Summit Agricultural Group).

Named FS Bioenergia, the US$115 million production facility is an international collaboration between US-headed Summit Agricultural Group (SAG), a diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company and Brazil-based agribusiness, Fiagril Ltda and is being built in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, a preeminent agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans.

First dedicated corn ethanol plant

According to Bruce Rastetter, CEO and Founder of SAG, the plant is a first-of-its-kind dedicated corn ethanol plant to be built in Brazil and will be completed in mid-2017. SAG’s partner in the corn ethanol project is Fiagril – a diversified company whose operations throughout Mato Grosso and adjoining Brazilian states include biodiesel production, grain trading, crop production inputs and infrastructure development.

We are extremely proud of our international collaboration with Summit Agricultural Group on this historic corn ethanol production facility. Mato Grosso has set the standards for Brazilian agriculture and business development for years and thanks to this effort, the region will grow to new heights in the area of renewable fuels, said Marino Franz, founder of Fiagril.

The FS Bioenergia production facility will utilize process technologies from US-based technology providers ICM, Inc, a company that has provided engineering, construction and operational services for more than 100 ethanol plants in North America since 1995.

The facility is expected to be the most modern and efficient ethanol plant in the world, and when fully operational it will employ nearly 90 people and produce 60 million US gallons of ethanol (≈ 227.12 million litres) annually for domestic markets.

Meet growing ethanol demand

Rastetter said the landmark project will bring immediate value to Brazil. The plant will help offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which cannot be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production. Furthermore, the new corn ethanol production facility will introduce to the region valuable high fibre and high protein co-products, which will serve as high-value feed for the Brazilian livestock industry.

This is a significant day for renewable fuels, Brazil and Summit Agricultural Group.Through Summit’s expertise in sustainable agriculture, investment and renewable energy, we will further realize the enormous corn growing potential of a region that is poised to become a global leader in corn ethanol production, Rastetter said.

Brazil began sugarcane ethanol production in the mid-1970s and today produces 25 percent of the world’s ethanol. According to SAG, Bank of America has estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion US gallons (≈ 51.1 billion litres) in 2022, two-thirds greater than the 8.1 billion US gallons (≈ 30.66 billion litres) estimated in sugarcane ethanol production in 2016.

The Mato Grosso region’s substantial corn production – both proven and potential – make corn-derived ethanol the most viable option to complement existing sugarcane ethanol production and fulfil an annual multi-billion gallon shortfall. Additionally, the introduction of corn ethanol production to Brazil is expected to generate dividends.

Mato Grosso will also benefit from corn ethanol co-products such as high fibre and high protein feedstocks for the region’s growing beef, pork and poultry industries. That’s why today’s ground breaking at this facility is so important – it will open many new doors for the future of agriculture in Mato Grosso and throughout Brazil, said Justin Kirchhoff, Investment Development Manager for SAG.

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