Green Plains Renewable Energy: Biofuels Digest’s 2014 5-Minute Guide

April 8, 2014 |

Green Plains is a vertically-integrated ethanol producer based in Omaha, Nebraska. They currently have an ethanol production capacity of approximately 1.0 billion gallons per year with 12 plants located in Atkinson, Nebraska; Bluffton, Indiana; Central City, Nebraska; Fairmont, Minnesota; Fergus Falls, Minnesota; Lakota, Iowa; Obion, Tennessee; Ord, Nebraska; Riga, Michigan; Shenandoah, Iowa; Superior, Iowa; and Wood River, Nebraska. They also operate an independent third party ethanol marketing business, Green Plains Trade.

At capacity the plants will produce approximately 2.9 million tons of distillers grains annually that will be used as a high-protein, high-energy animal fodder and feed supplement. Corn oil is also a co-product, and Green Plains also provides grain storage through its Subsidiary – Green Plains Grain, with a grain storage capacity of approximately 7 million bushels.

Biofuels Digest Award

2012 Industrial Symbiosis Award: Green Plains Renewable Energy, BioProcess Algae

Model:

Owner-operator.

The Situation:

Green Plains has been in acquisition mode — adding production capacity, and expanding terminal operations. They’ve been recording strong earnings in recent months and the stock has been soaring.

Looking to next generation technology, Green Plains is part of a joint venture called BioProcess Algae to commercialize algae production technology. In addition to Green Plains, the other partners in the venture are CLARCOR Inc. and BioProcess H2O. The project, located at Green Plains in Shenandoah, Iowa, received a grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence totaling $4.1 million.

Past Milestones:

GPRE acquired biofuel terminal operator BlendStar in 2011.  Before that, they acquired a majority interest in January 2009. The BlendStar platform allows customers to source, store and blend ethanol and biodiesel to meet growing demand, now and in the future. Blendstar currently has terminals with a total annual throughput capacity of more than 830 million gallons per year. These facilities accept deliveries by both rail and truck, and offer the same quality controls, safety, security, and back office functionality of a major petroleum terminal.

In December 2011, Green Plains Renewable Energy executed an agreement to acquire the grain elevator assets of KW Carter Company d/b/a JW Grain located in St. Edward, Nebraska. JW Grain holds 1.9 million bushels of state-licensed grain storage and is located approximately 40 miles from the Company’s Central City, Nebraska ethanol production facility.

In October 2012, Green Plains Renewable Energy sold a dozen of its grain elevators, or 83% of its storage capacity in Tennessee and Iowa, to The Andersons for $133.1 million including just over $28 million in debt. The company expects further grain storage capacity expansion near its two ethanol facilities in Nebraska.

In June 2013, Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc. and Choice Ethanol Holdings LLC signed an agreement to purchase the former Nedak Ethanol plant in Atkinson. The deal includes an ethanol plant with an annual production capacity of 50 million gallons, and an ethanol storage and loading facility approximately 15 miles to the east. Green Plains plans to staff and reopen the plant in the next four weeks.

In August 2013, Green Plains Renewable Energy said it will temporarily shutter 9 out of its 10 ethanol plants for maintenance during the next two months. The company said it typically schedules maintenance downtimes in October through December, but the move is expected to reduce ethanol output by 10-20% from August through the end of September. “You time your downtimes in the worst part of the (revenue) curve, and we felt like the end of the crop year was a good place to get our plants ready for harvest,” said CEO Todd Becker in a telephone interview with Reuters.

In November 2013, Green Plains Renewable Energy completed the previously-announced acquisition of two ethanol plants, located in Wood River, NE and Fairmont, MN, from Ethanol Holding Company, LLC, an entity composed of the predecessor owners’ lender group. The acquisition increases Green Plains’ production capacity to over one billion gallons of ethanol per year.

In December 2013, Green Plains Renewable Energy said it was ready to re-open the Fairmont ethanol plant it bought for $53.5 million after it had been mothballed in September 2012. About half of the plant should be up and running next week with the first ethanol production scheduled by the start of 2014, and full operation at the 113 million gallon per year plant hit by the end of January.

Future Milestones:

Commercial scale for the BioProcess Algae system

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