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Summit Ag Group breaks ground on $115M corn ethanol plant in Brazil

US-based Summit Agricultural Group recently broke ground on the first large-scale corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The $115-million plant is an international collaboration between Summit and Brazilian agribusiness Fiagril.

The production facility is being built in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, an agricultural state in west central Brazil and the country’s largest producer of corn and soybeans.

Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter estimated that the plant, which will be the only dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil, will be completed in mid-2017. When fully operational it will produce 60 million gallons of ethanol annually for domestic markets.

In addition to helping to meet the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol, which can’t be met by the existing sugarcane ethanol production, the new corn ethanol production facility will introduce to the region valuable high fiber and high protein co-products, which will serve as high-value feed for the Brazilian livestock industry.

The Summit/Fiagril production facility will utilize process technologies from Kansas-based ICM, Inc. Since 1995, ICM has provided engineering, construction and operational services for more than 100 ethanol plants in North America.

Brazil began sugar cane ethanol production in the mid-1970s and today produces 25% of the world’s ethanol. Bank of America has estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion US gallons in 2022, two-thirds greater than the 8.1 billion gallons estimated in sugar cane ethanol production in 2016.

The Mato Grosso region’s substantial corn production—both proven and potential—make corn-derived ethanol a viable option to complement existing sugar cane ethanol production and fulfill an annual multi-billion gallon shortfall, Summit said.

Summit’s US investment partners include Laverack Capital Partners, a private investment firm, and Tiger Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure projects. These firms invested alongside Summit and bring significant experience and expertise related to developing successful growth platforms across a wide range of industries.

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