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Summit Agricultural Group to invest US$100 million in FS Bioenergia corn ethanol expansion

Summit Agricultural Group (SAG), a US-based diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company has announced that it will invest US$100 million to expand the production capacity of FS Bioenergia in Brazil. The plant expansion in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, is forecasted for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and will more than double annual corn ethanol production, from 60 million gallons (≈ 227 million litres) to 140 million gallons (≈ 454 million litres).

Summit Agricultural Group (SAG) is to invest US$100 million to double production at the recently commissioned FS Bioenergia first-of-its-kind corn ethanol plant in Brazil (photo courtesy SAG).

A first-of-its-kind dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil, FS Bioenergia in Lucas do Rio Verde is an international collaboration between SAG and Brazil-based agribusiness, Fiagril Ltda. With this expansion, FS Bioenergia will annually process over 50 million bushels (≈ 1.25 million tonnes) of corn and produce more than 14 000 tonnes of corn oil and 400 000 tonnes of feed rations for Brazil’s growing livestock industry.

This is a significant step for FS Bioenergia, but it’s even more important for the growth of corn ethanol production in Brazil. When we began this project several years ago, we were confident of the opportunities in Brazilian renewables. Today, we’re more convinced than ever of the potential for corn ethanol in Mato Grosso, said Bruce Rastetter, founder and CEO of Summit Agricultural Group.

Driven by double-cropping and RenovaBio

According to Rastetter, two factors are driving that optimism – first, increased production of affordable corn through double cropping. In Mato Grosso, corn production over the last decade has increased five-fold. Second is the RenovaBio program, which is legislation that would double Brazil’s renewable fuels use by 2030.

Brazil’s long-standing commitment to renewable fuels coupled with an abundance of affordable feedstocks makes for an attractive corn ethanol picture in Brazil. As we look at the expansion of FS Bioenergia over this next year, we’re in a strong position to benefit from these favourable conditions, said Justin Kirchhoff managing director and head of private equity for Summit Agricultural Group.

SAG and Fiagril broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016, with the initial phase of production starting in mid-2017. As with the plant’s original design and development, the FS Bioenergia expansion will utilize process technologies from US-headed ethanol plant engineering, construction and operational services provider ICM, Inc.

By utilizing the most modern process technology FS Bioenergia is able to produce differentiated high-value co-products such as high-protein and high-fibre dried distillers’ grains (DDG’s) that are targeted towards specific livestock markets. This process technology also improves overall plant yield and efficiency.

According to SAG, FS Bioenergia’s corn ethanol operation is considered a “landmark” project in Brazil that is already delivering immediate value to the country. Once at full capacity, the plant will offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which cannot be met by existing sugarcane ethanol production.

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