GreenField to make grain-based de-icer

Biofuel maker GreenField Ethanol has signed on for a joint venture to make road and runway de-icer from grain-based glucose, and aims to do so at an ethanol plant it plans to build in southwestern Ontario.

The Ontario company has signed a partnership agreement with New Jersey-based DNP Green Technology for a $50 million refinery to make bio-based succinic acid, which makes a “less corrosive” de-icer for use on roads, airport runways and aircraft carbon brakes.

The succinic acid de-icer technology will be licensed to the joint venture from Bioamber, itself a joint venture between DNP Green Technology and French firm ARD (Agro-recherches et Developpement), which operates a succinic acid plant at Pomacle, France, about 150 km northeast of Paris.

GreenField said in a release Thursday that its “preferred location” for the succinic acid plant is at its “shovel-ready” ethanol facility site at Hensall, about 55 km north of London, Ont.

GreenField and DNP said they plan to officially form their joint venture later this year and negotiate a license from Bioamber. The agreement calls for GreenField to build and operate the refinery, while DNP will hold a “significant equity stake.”

“Adding a bio-based de-icer refinery to our operations is the start of the realization of the bio-refinery potential of GreenField’s extensive grain ethanol operations,” GreenField CEO Bob Gallant said in the release.

“This new de-icer refinery will help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our fossil fuel dependence and will create economic benefits to the community of Hensall.”

GreenField, on its website, says a “construction schedule is forthcoming” for its Hensall corn ethanol plant, which is to be built “adjacent to the largest inland grain terminal in Eastern Canada” and to use marine service from the Lake Huron port of Goderich, about 40 km north.

The Hensall plant is expected to use about 20 million bushels of Ontario corn to make 200 million litres of ethanol per year.

DNP Green president Jean-Francois Huc called the planned venture “an important milestone” which will become “North America’s first commercial venture to produce renewable succinic acid.”

GreenField already makes over 500 million litres a year of ethanol at plants in Johnstown, Chatham and Tiverton, Ont. and at Varennes, Que. DNP Green, based at Princeton, N.J., maintains a Canadian office in Montreal and a Chinese office in Shanghai.

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