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ICM and The Andersons announce “elementary” biorefinery partnership

US-headed ICM, Inc., a global leading biofuels process technology provider, and The Andersons, Inc., a publicly-traded company with diverse agribusiness interests including ethanol production, have announced a partnership to own and construct ELEMENT, LLC, a 70 million US gallon (≈ 265 million litre) biorefinery located in Colwich, Kansas. Scheduled to be operational in 2019, the plant aims to produce the "highest yielding, most profitable, and lowest carbon ethanol gallon" in the United States.

ELEMENT, a 70 million US gallon (≈ 265 million litre) corn-based biorefinery plant to be built in Kansas is a partnership between ICM, Inc.,  and The Andersons, Inc., Scheduled to be operational in 2019, ELEMENT aims to produce the “highest yielding, most profitable, and lowest carbon ethanol gallon” in the United States (image courtesy ICM).

This investment executes on several of our stated strategic priorities, such as operating highly efficient and profitable ethanol production facilities, increasing capacity under management, developing new technologies with higher value co-products and expanding our fee-based services offering, said Pat Bowe, CEO of The Andersons.

According to a joint statement, this strategic collaboration will build and operate the most advanced ethanol plant in the world featuring ICM’s “cutting-edge” technologies. The combination of ICM’s next-generation technologies, the merchandising, risk management and logistics expertise of The Andersons, and the demonstrated operational excellence of both companies will result in the “production of the highest yielding, most profitable, and lowest carbon ethanol gallon in the United States ethanol industry today.”

The Andersons and ICM share a common vision. We strive to utilize our combined experience and expertise to build and grow businesses that operate in the top percentile of their industries. By positioning ELEMENT in such a way to take advantage of what both companies do best, we expect that this company will be the leader in the ethanol industry well into the future, said Chris Mitchell, President ICM.

Low carbon, high yield

Utilizing ICM’s “Advanced Gasification Technology”, ELEMENT will use waste wood to fire a combined heat and power (CHP) generator that will offset more than 70 percent of the natural gas requirements and as much as 80 percent of the electrical demand.

The plant will include the latest versions of ICM’s proven proprietary technologies for corn ethanol, “Selective Milling Technology V2” (SMT V2) and “Fiber Separation Technology Next Gen” (FST Next Gen). The plant will also produce “unique” high-value animal feed products.

ICM’s patented SMT V2 is a grind system designed to maximize ethanol and distillers corn oil production whereas it’s patented FST Next Gen enables higher corn ethanol production, increases distillers corn oil yield, and separates the fibre from the process.

The separated fibre provides the feedstock for the patent-pending “Generation 1.5 Grain Fiber to Cellulosic Ethanol Technology” (Gen 1.5). According to ICM, its Gen 1.5 cellulosic process will produce more than 5 million gallons (≈ 19 million litres) of cellulosic ethanol, which is expected to make ELEMENT the world’s largest corn fibre to cellulosic ethanol facility.

Combined these technologies will result in ethanol yields that exceed 3.10 gallons per bushel (≈ 11.7 litres per 25 kg). The carbon index of both the corn and cellulosic ethanol will, the companies say, “be industry leading and demonstrate both ICM’s and The Andersons’ commitment to environmental sustainability.”

Californian fuel market

The ethanol produced by ELEMENT will be sold primarily in California under the state’s progressive Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and will position the plant to participate in other emerging low-carbon markets.

ICM began preparing the plant site in late fall 2016. Construction and manufacturing will begin in early 2018 with the first phase of start-up scheduled for spring 2019. ELEMENT is expected to be fully operational by year end 2019.

This collaboration brings two leading players in the corn-ethanol industry together. At the core, we have similar values, similar expectations of excellence, and the same relentless drive to improve our businesses, our people, and our communities, concluded Dave VanderGriend, Founder and CEO of ICM.

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