A spirit of Kuleana: renewable fuels ventures strive for new geographies, feedstock, products

October 23, 2017 |

Nothing rang clearer as an industry imperative at ABLC Next last week than the theme of diversification in a Year of Living Dangerously, and we saw it in the news this week from Velocys, Pacific Biodiesel and ICM. Respectively, these are feedstock, product and geographic diversification — done with a goal of building enterprise resilience, reaching new customers, but doing so in harmony with the land and community.

There ought to be a word for it, and it turns out that Hawaiian has one: kuleana. “In Hawaiian, kuleana means a personal sense of responsibility,” noted Pacific Biodiesel’s Marketing Director Joy Galatro.

Today, let’s look at Kuleana and responsible diversification in more detail.

Product diversification: Pacific Biodiesel

From Hawaii we hear that Maiden Hawaii Naturals, a subsidiary of fuels pioneer Pacific Biodiesel, has launched Kuleana, a new collection of natural beauty oils and facial cleansers made with locally grown ingredients. This handcrafted skincare line currently includes three blends for different skin types – Soothe, Nourish and Rejuve – made with plant-based oils including macadamia nut, kukui, coconut, avocado and green coffee oils, all produced by Maiden Hawaii Naturals.

The new Kuleana products are now available for purchase at www.KuleanaBeauty.com and on Amazon.com. As the company expands its sales operation, the products will also be available for purchase at resort spas, day spas, and specialty boutiques statewide. Recently named the #1 Spa in America by USA Today, the ʻAwili Spa and Salon located within the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is the first spa customer in the state to use our Maui sunflower oil for massage and other spa treatments. Kuleana beauty oils will also be offered for sale at the spa.

“This value, Kuleana, inspires our company’s mission to practice sustainability, support local farming and fight climate change,” said Gulatro, ” which makes it the ideal name for our new brand of beauty oil products made as part of our company’s sustainable agriculture and energy operation that’s helping Hawaii achieve a clean energy future.”

Oils are grown at Pacific Biodiesel’s Maui sunflower farm, which also produces feedstock for the company’s signature biodiesel opeations. It;’s for sale locally, through the company’s website and through Amazon.com.

Feedstock diversification: Velocys

From Mississippi comes the news that Velocys has signed a site option agreement with Adams County in the State of Mississippi for its first U.S. biorefinery to be located in Natchez. The company’s previous commercial-scale refinery — the ENVIA project in Oklahoma — had utilized natural gas as a feedstock.

Velocys has been offered economic development incentives from Adams County estimated to be worth the equivalent of $42 million. The project expects to qualify for additional incentives worth up to $15 million, provided via Mississippi’s Advantage Jobs Act and other statutory tax incentives. These incentive packages would reduce the company’s future tax liabilities and are subject to Velocys meeting certain minimum requirements for capital investment and local employment opportunities.

Velocys has also received commitments from Adams County worth approximately $4 million (relating to the land and upgrades to the site) and $1 million site upgrade commitments from local utility suppliers, further increasing the attractiveness of the site.

The 100-acre Natchez site was confirmed after the Company analysed a broad set of operational and tax considerations at twelve possible sites in four States in the Southeast United States. Due diligence, including site visits, was completed at each of these sites and incentive offers were received from each State in question.

The analysis lays the foundation for future biorefineries: Velocys is maintaining its list of other advantaged sites in the region, which could host plants with capacities totalling 100 million gallons over the next 10 years. Velocys remains in close contact with the economic development officials in these other States regarding the locations and timing of future renewable fuels facilities.

This announcement completes one of the work packages required for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan guarantee application announced in June 2017. Site permitting activities have now begun for the Natchez site.

Geographic diversification: ICM

From Brazil we have news that ICM has completed startup and commissioning of Brazil’s first standalone dry-mill corn ethanol plant.  The plant is FS Bioenergia, a joint venture between U.S. – based Summit Agricultural Group and Fiagril Ltda of Brazil.  ICM has completed a huge number of corn ethanol projects, but this is the company’s first in Brazil — and a first corn ethanol project for Brazil, as well.

The ICM-designed ethanol plant is located in the middle of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s Corn Belt, near the city of Lucas de Rio Verde, enabling the region to benefit from the alternative use of local corn production.  ICM’s scope of work included technologies, engineering, proprietary equipment, and services. Technologies comprised the corn to ethanol process and two patent-pending processes to increase ethanol and oil yields, Selective Milling Technology and Fiber Separation Technology.

“We value the opportunity to collaborate and to revolutionize the biofuels industry,” stated Dave VanderGriend, CEO of ICM, “ICM looks forward to continued collaboration with FS Bioenergia to promote the economic growth of the region and Brazil by providing our process technologies and services to advance renewable energy.”

 

 

 

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