Cargill: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

April 23, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoCargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 140,000 people in 65 countries, Cargill is one of the world’s largest privately-held companies, in biofuels Cargill is a producer, and has developed a comprehensive package of services and tools from capital financing to grain origination and grain and energy risk management, to the marketing of ethanol, distillers grains and corn oil and germ processing, Cargill can customize services to complement your business needs and strategy.

As a producer in the US, Cargill has large ethanol plants at Eddyville, Iowa; Ft. Dodge, Iowa; Blair, Nebraska; and biodiesel plants in Iowa Falls, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri. And Cargill is also active in biodiesel in Brazil, Argentina and Germany, Brazilian ethanol and food-grade ethanol in Germany.

Cargill is also the co-owner of NatureWorks with PTT Global (originally Cargill Dow), which is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon-footprint Ingeo lactides and biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based intermediates, plastics, and fibers, and provide brand owners new cradle-to-cradle options after the use of their products.

Cargill is an investor in Virent, Greenergy (UK), and has supplied animal fats-based jet fuel to the US Air Force. Elevance Renewable Sciences is ased in science originally spun-off from Cargill and Materia in 2004. It invests and manages investments through Cargill Ventures and through its subsidiary Black River Asset Management.


The 50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy, #31, 2014-15

The Situation

Cargill is a highly-sought-after partner for many companies — gigantic distribution muscle in every aspect of agricultural and biofuels products; investments in first-gen biofuels, and a desire to move from large-volume, small-margin markets (the company makes something like a 3% net profot from more than $100 billion in revenues) to the kind of higher margins seen from controlling high-value IP in the biobased arena.

Top Past Milestones

In January 2015, BASF said it was leaving Novozymes and Cargill to continue carrying on the R&D work they’ve done together on bio-based acrylic acid, saying it couldn’t reach the targets for commercializing the product. Novozymes and Cargill started the partnership in 2008 with BASF joining in 2012. The founding companies are now looking for a new partner to work towards commercialization.

In June 2014, Cargill and Evolva Holding announced the achievement of a technical milestone in their joint development program of fermentation-based minor steviol glycosides – the compounds responsible for the sweet taste in the stevia leaf. The milestone is an enabling step in bringing additional great tasting stevia-based sweeteners to market in a cost effective and sustainable way for food and beverage manufacturers.

In April 2014, Rivertop Renewables announced that it has raised $26 million from Cargill, First Green Partners and existing investors. Rivertop’s new partners represent world-class leaders in agriculture, finance and industrial products. Their contributions will enable Rivertop to commence commercial production of a new class of high-performance chemicals targeted at consumer product and industrial markets.

In March 2014, Copersucar and Cargill announced an agreement to combine their global sugar trading activities into a new joint venture that will originate, commercialize and trade raw and white sugar. The joint venture, in which both Copersucar and Cargill will own a 50-percent stake, will have a global footprint. Both companies’ ethanol businesses and fixed assets, such as terminals and mills, are excluded from this transaction. These activities will remain separate business, individually owned by Cargill and Copersucar.

In October 2012, the Missouri Soybean Association (MSA) and Cargill today announced an expansion to the Paseo biodiesel plant in Kansas City, Mo. that will increase biodiesel production capacity by 40 percent by mid-2013. Using soybean oil as its primary feedstock, the facility, which opened in 2008, produces 40 million gallons of biodiesel and 30 million pounds of food-grade glycerin annually.

Major Milestone Goals

In April 2014, Cargill has sent a letter to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil indicating it will commit to a new and improved responsible palm oil policy to address the issues of deforestation, human rights violations and carbon pollution documented within its palm oil supply chains.

In 2013, Cargill and Evolva entered into an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize fermentation-based steviol glycosides. Steviol glycosides are the compounds responsible for the sweet taste of stevia plant leaves.

Commercialization of technologies such as Virent and Rivertop Renewables; expansion of NatureWorks.

Competitive Edge

Size matters.



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