A grand opening was held this past week signaling the start of operations at FS Bioenergia, a $115 million, world-class, corn-only ethanol production facility located in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, Brazil.
FS Bioenergia is the first large-scale corn ethanol production plant in Brazil and is the result of an international collaboration between Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril and U.S.-based Summit Agricultural Group headquartered in Alden, Iowa.
In its initial phase of operations, FS Bioenergia will process 22 million bu. of corn annually to produce more than 60 million gal. of corn ethanol, 6,200 tons of corn oil and 170,000 tons of feed ingredients for Brazil's growing livestock industry. By 2018, FS Bioenergia's second phase of operations will increase corn processing and ethanol production twofold, according to an announcement.
"FS Bioenergia is the most modern and efficient ethanol production operation in the world and will revolutionize the biofuels landscape in Brazil," Summit Agricultural Group founder and chief executive officer Bruce Rastetter said. "Summit Ag Group and Fiagril are proud to have delivered this historic project to Mato Grosso, and we look forward to the development of the region as a leader in ethanol, corn and livestock production."
The FS Bioenergia corn ethanol operation is considered a landmark project in Brazil that will deliver immediate value to the country, the announcement said. First, the plant will offset Brazil's increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can't be met by the existing sugarcane-based ethanol production. Second, the facility will introduce to Mato Grosso valuable fiber and protein co-products known as dried distillers grains, which will serve as high-value feed for the country's expanding livestock industry.
"This is a transformative moment for both agriculture and the renewable fuels industry in Brazil," Fiagril founder Marino Franz said. "FS Bioenergia will not only meet Brazil's growing demand for ethanol, but it sets the stage for Mato Grosso to become a global leader in the production of corn ethanol."
Summit Agricultural Group and Fiagril broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016. FS Bioenergia utilized process technologies from ICM Inc. of Colwich, Kan. The facility will employ roughly 150 full-time workers. In addition to ethanol and co-products for livestock feed, the ethanol facility will generate 60,000 megawatts of electricity to the local power grid.
Brazil began sugarcane ethanol production in the mid-1970s and today produces approximately 25% of the world's ethanol, according to the announcement.
Bank of America estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion gal. in 2022, two-thirds greater than the estimated 8.1 billion gal. of sugarcane ethanol production in 2016. The Mato Grosso region's substantial corn production — both realized and potential — make corn-derived ethanol a viable option to complement existing sugarcane ethanol production and fulfill an annual multibillion-gallon shortfall, the announcement explained.
Founded in 1990 by Rastetter, Summit Agricultural Group is a diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company based in Iowa, with diverse operations that include row crop, beef cattle and pork farms in the U.S. and a growing presence in the South American biofuel market.
Fiagril, headquartered in Lucas do Rio Verde, is a diversified company whose operations throughout Brazil include biodiesel production, grain trading, crop production inputs and infrastructure development.