Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter and Mato Grosso Governor Pedro Taques.
Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter and Mato Grosso Governor Pedro Taques.

Groundbreaking has occurred in Brazil for the country’s first large-scale corn ethanol production facility. The corn ethanol plant is being constructed by an Iowa-headquartered agribusiness development company, Summit Agricultural Group, in collaboration with Brazilian agribusiness company, Fiagril.

Investment for constructing the ethanol plant was announced as $115 million. The production facility is being built in Lucas do Rio Verde in Mato Grosso, the prominent agricultural state in west central Brazil with the country’s largest production of corn and soybeans. Summit Agricultural Group has two major investment firms involved with it in financing the project.

Summit CEO Bruce Rastetter estimates the plant, which will be the only dedicated corn ethanol plant in Brazil, will be completed in mid-2017. He further contends that the facility will be the most modern and efficient ethanol plant in the world.

Production per year is targeted to be 60 million gallons of ethanol, which will be mainly aimed at domestic market use, Rastetter said.  The operation will require nearly 90 employees.

Rastetter said the plant will help offset the country’s increasing demand for domestic ethanol. Summit’s projections suggest that Brazilian use of ethanol will continue to grow tremendously as the country continues its economic development. But it is common knowledge that currently some of the country’s existing sugar cane ethanol production is exported.

The corn ethanol production facility will provide a large volume of high fiber and high protein by-products for feeding Brazilian livestock. A local source for distiller’s grains will be an advantage to livestock producers, some of whom have imported distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The by-products feedstock could assist in further encourage the region’s increasing beef, pork and poultry industries. 

Rastetter said. “Through Summit’s expertise in sustainable agriculture, investment and renewable energy, we will further realize the enormous corn growing potential of a region that is poised to become a global leader in corn ethanol production.”

Summit Agricultural Group’s partner in the corn ethanol project is Fiagril – a diversified company whose operations throughout Mato Grosso and adjoining Brazilian states include biodiesel production, grain trading, crop production inputs and infrastructure development.

Marino Franz, founder of Fiagril, said, “Mato Grosso has set the standards for Brazilian agriculture and business development for years, and thanks to this effort, the region will grow to new heights in the area of renewable fuels.”

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 percent of the world’s ethanol. Bank of America has estimated that annual ethanol sales in Brazil could reach 13.5 billion U.S. 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 the most viable option to complement existing sugar cane ethanol production and fulfill an annual multi-billion gallon shortfall.

Summit Agricultural Group was founded in 1990 by Rastetter. It boasts of being a diverse farming, agricultural investment and farm management company headquartered in Alden, Iowa. Additional information about Summit is at www.SummitAg.com.