FS Bioenergia corn ethanol production facility in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, Brazil FS Bioenergia/Summit Agricultural Group

Summit Agricultural Group to expand FS Bioenergia ethanol plant in Brazil

Summit's $100 million investment in corn ethanol facility will more than double production to 140 million gal. by early 2019 .

Summit Agricultural Group announced a $100 million expansion of FS Bioenergia, the leading corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The expansion of the FS Bioenergia plant in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, Brazil, is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and will more than double the company's annual corn ethanol production from 60 million gal. to 140 million gal.

With this expansion, FS Bioenergia will annually process more than 50 million bu. of corn and produce more than 14,000 tons of corn oil and 400,000 tons of feed rations for Brazil's growing livestock industry.

"This is a significant step for FS Bioenergia, but it's even more important for the growth of corn ethanol production in Brazil," Summit Agricultural Group founder and chief executive officer Bruce Rastetter said. "When we began this project several years ago, we were confident of the opportunities in Brazilian renewables. Today, we're more convinced than ever of the potential for corn ethanol in Mato Grosso."

Driving that optimism are two factors. The first is increased production of affordable corn through double cropping. In Mato Grosso, corn production has increased five-fold over the last decade. The second is the RenovaBio program, which is legislation that would double Brazil's renewable fuel use by 2030.

"Brazil's long-standing commitment to renewable fuels, coupled with an abundance of affordable feedstocks, make for an attractive corn ethanol picture in Brazil," said Justin Kirchhoff, managing director and head of private equity for Summit Agricultural Group. "As we look at the expansion of FS Bioenergia over this next year, we're in a strong position to benefit from these favorable conditions."

FS Bioenergia is a collaboration between a Mato Grosso agribusiness and Summit Agricultural Group, a leader in international agribusiness development, renewable energy and production agriculture headquartered in Alden, Iowa. Summit and its Brazilian partner broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016, with the initial phase of production starting in mid-2017.

As with the plant's original design and development, the FS Bioenergia expansion will utilize process technologies from ICM Inc. of Colwich, Kan., which has provided engineering, construction and operational services for more than 100 ethanol plants in North America since 1995.

By utilizing the most modern process technology, FS Bioenergia is able to produce differentiated high-value co-products, such as high-protein and high-fiber dried distillers grains (DDGs), which are targeted towards specific livestock markets, according to the announcement. This process technology also improves overall plant yield and efficiency.

FS Bioenergia's corn ethanol operation is considered a landmark project in Brazil that is already delivering value to the country. Once at full capacity, the plant will offset the country's increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can't be met by existing sugarcane-based ethanol production. The facility will also introduce DDGs to Mato Grosso to serve as high-value feed for the expanding Brazilian livestock industry.

Summit Agricultural Group is a diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company whose operations include row crop production, beef cattle and pork farms in the U.S. and a growing presence in the South American biofuel market.

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