Business Briefs

By Erin Voegele | December 30, 2015

DuPont appoints CEO
Edward Breen has been named chair and CEO of DuPont. Prior to joining DuPont, Breen served as CEO of Tyco International plc, where he oversaw the design and implementation of a comprehensive action plan to revive the company from near-bankruptcy and rebuild its brand and credibility. During his time at Tyco, Breen oversaw a restructuring, including two break-ups of the company resulting in the spin-offs of Covidien, Tyco Connectivity, ADT Corp. and the merger of Tyco Flow Control with Pentair. Breen also previously served as president and chief operating officer of Motorola, and as chairman, president and CEO of General Instrument Corp.  

Drax adds director
Drax has announced that Andy Koss, chief executive of Drax Power Ltd., has been appointed a director of the company, effective Jan. 1. Koss joined Drax in 2005 and has held senior roles in finance and regulation. Peter Emery, group operations director at Drax, was scheduled to leave the company and cease to be a director Dec. 31. His departure follows the completion of the transition to the new executive management structure announced earlier in the year.

Biomass professional recognized by OSU
Bill Levy, CEO and founder of Pacific Ag, recently received a Distinguished Luminary Award from Oregon State University. The award is designed to publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of outstanding alumni, and is given to an individual who made early career and community contributions that clearly identify him as a future leader. Pacific Ag is a biomass supply chain management provider. The company’s customers include U.S. cellulosic biorefineries, forage importers in Asia and the Middle East, U.S. cattle and dairy operations, and others.

BioAmber hires CFO
BioAmber Inc. has added Mario Saucier to serve as its chief financial officer (CFO), effective Jan. 4. Andrew Ashworth, who came out of retirement in July to act as CFO on an interim basis, was scheduled to leave BioAmber at the end of January. Saucier will lead all finance activities, including treasury, budget planning, investor relations and information systems, and will play a leading role in the company’s growth initiatives. He previously served as CFO of Englobe and chief accounting officer of Quebecor World.

Sierra Energy partners with Andy Egan 
Sierra Energy has selected Andy Egan as its engineering and procurement partner in delivering renewable energy solutions to the U.S. Army and California Energy Commission. Andy Egan will play a key role in the design and fabrication of the FastOx gasification system at Fort Hunter Liggett, a U.S. Army garrison in California. The project will divert waste generated on base from landfills for the creation of renewable energy. Fort Hunter Liggett is on track to become one of six army installations in the nation to achieve net-zero waste production, energy usage and water consumption. 

Anellotech announces investment
Anellotech, a company developing proprietary thermal catalytic biomass conversion technology, has received a $7 million equity investment from a new strategic investor. The new investor joins existing partners Axens, IFP Energies nouvelles, Johnson Matthey, and other industry leaders.

API awarded patent for nanocellulose applications
American Process Inc. has announced the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted the U.S. Patent No. 9,187,865 for its BioPlus nanocellulose technology. The patent covers an AVAP process for producing a nanocellulose material, as well as many downstream applications using the nanocellulose. The process includes fractionating a biomass feedstock with acid, a solvent for lignin, and water, to generate cellulose-rich solids; and then mechanically treating the cellulose-rich solids with a relatively low amount of energy to form cellulose nanofibrils or nanocrystals. Other patents are pending for the nanocellulose material and compositions that include the nanocellulose, as well as for other aspects of the technology, in the U.S., Brazil, Europe, Japan, China, India, Russia, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and South Africa.

IDA names new chair
The International DME Association has named Rebecca Boudreaux, president of Oberon Fuels Inc., as its chair. The IDA represents interests of the international dimethyl ether (DME) fuel industry and its members, including stakeholders involved in the production, distribution, and use of DME for fuel applications and in the research and development of technologies related to its use. At Oberon, Boudreaux leads the consumer development and strategic partnering efforts with OEMs, feedstock suppliers, and trucking companies.

Gevo, Praj sign agreement
Gevo Inc. has entered into a license agreement and a joint development agreement with Praj Industries Ltd. to enable the licensing of its isobutanol technology to processors of noncorn-based sugars, including the majority of Praj’s global customer base of ethanol plant owners. As part of the agreements, Praj will invest substantial resources in the development and optimization of Gevo’s isobutanol technology for use with noncorn feedstocks, including sugarcane, sugar beets, cassava, rice, sorghum, wheat and certain cellulosic sugars. The development work is expected to lead to process design packages (PDP) designed to accelerate the licensing of Gevo’s technology to processors of these feedstocks, particularly in Praj’s customer base. The development work is expected to build on the PDP Gevo has already developed for corn. Under the agreements, Praj would be the customer-facing entity marketing Gevo’s isobutanol technology to its existing customer base, and would provide the engineering, procurement and construction services for such projects. Gevo would be the direct licensor of its technology to these end customers. The two companies expected to license up to 250 million gallons of biobutanol capacity over the next 10 years under this partnership. In addition to the PDP development, Praj will contribute engineering services to optimize Gevo’s Luverne, Minnesota, facility, with the initial focus on optimizing energy and water usage at the plant in order to further lower the cost of the isobutanol process.

Fortistar company appoints CEO
Fortistar has appointed Mo Klefeker as CEO of its portfolio company Primary Energy Recycling, which helps industrial companies create value from waste energy by building, owning and operating waste-heat-to-power and combined-heat-and-power plants at their manufacturing locations. Klefeker most recently served as president and CEO of Southwest Generation.