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FS Bioenergia starts production at Brazil's first dedicated corn ethanol plant

FS Bioenergia has held an official grand opening of its US$115 million dedicated corn ethanol plant in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso. The 60 million US gallon (≈ 227 million litre) per annum capacity facility is a first-of-its-kind in the country and is already slated to increase production two-fold in 2018.

Aerial view of the construction of Brazil’s first-of-a-kind dedicated corn ethanol plant which has since been completed and officially inaugurated (photo courtesy FS Bioenergia).

FS Bioenergia 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. As reported by Reuters, the official opening of the US$115 million FS Bioenergia production facility took place August 11 and was officiated amongst others by the President of Brazil Michel Temer and Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi.

Expansion to meet ethanol shortfall

A first-of-its-kind dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil, FS Bioenergia’s corn ethanol operation is considered a landmark project that will deliver immediate value to the country. The plant will offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which cannot be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production.

In addition, the facility will introduce to Mato Grosso dried distillers’ grains (DDGs) as a “valuable fibre and protein co-products” for high-value animal feed for the expanding Brazilian livestock industry. The state is already the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans.

FS Bioenergia is the most modern and efficient ethanol production operation in the world and will revolutionize the biofuels landscape in Brazil. Summit Ag Group and Fiagril are proud to have delivered this historic project to Mato Grosso, and we look forward to the development of the region as a leader in ethanol, corn and livestock production, said Bruce Rastetter, Founder and CEO of SAG.

According to a statement, in its initial phase of operations, FS Bioenergia will process 22 million bushels (≈ 558 830 tonnes) of corn and produce more than 60 million US gallons (> 227 million litres) of corn ethanol, 6 200 tons (≈ 5 625 tonnes) of corn oil and 170 000 tons (≈ 154 221 tonnes) of animal feed annually. By 2018, FS Bioenergia’s second phase of operations will increase corn processing and ethanol production two-fold.

This is a transformative moment for both agriculture and the renewable fuels industry in Brazil. FS Bioenergia will not only meet Brazil’s growing demand for ethanol but it sets the stage for Mato Grosso to become a global leader in the production of corn ethanol, said Marino Franz, Founder of Fiagril.

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.

Summit Agricultural Group and Fiagril broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016. FS Bioenergia will employ roughly 150 full-time workers. In addition to ethanol and co-products for livestock feed, the ethanol facility will supply around 60 GWh of electricity annually to the local power grid.

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