July, 2009 Archives

New England Corporate Moves

MASCOMA OPENING HEADQUARTERS Mascoma Corporation is moving the company’s corporate headquarters from Boston into a new research laboratory and office building in Lebanon, NH. Construction of the new building will be completed in August, with occupancy by September. The producer of low carbon, advanced biofuels was founded in 2006 in nearby Hanover, NH by two Dartmouth College professors, Drs. Lee Lynd and Charles Wyman. The company has operated a research and development lab in Lebanon since that time. Today, the majority of Mascoma’s employees are based in Lebanon. The headquarters move will allow R&D, engineering and commercial development staff to work together under one roof—providing smooth technology transfer from the lab to operating facilities. It will eliminate travel between offices and decrease the company’s carbon footprint. Corporate administrative and operating costs also will be reduced. “The move will provide three things: it will make our production process scale-up easier, provide operating efficiencies, and lower costs”, said Bruce Jamerson, Mascoma chairman and CEO. Mascoma owns and operates a large-scale demonstration facility in Rome, NY that produces cellulosic ethanol from non-food biomass feedstocks such as wood chips. Mascoma’s affiliate Frontier Renewable Resources is actively developing a commercial scale production facility in Kinross, MI, expected to begin construction in 2010. The corporate office move will involve a reduction of 12-15 positions due to elimination of redundant functions and inability of some staff to relocate. However, some new positions will be created in Lebanon, and Rome staffing will be unaffected. Mascoma recently announced that the company has made major research advances in consolidated bioprocessing (CBP), a low-cost processing strategy for production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass. CBP avoids the need for the costly production of cellulose enzymes by using engineered microorganisms that produce celluloses and ethanol at high yield in a single step. “This is a true breakthrough that takes us much, much closer to billions of gallons of low-cost cellulosic biofuels,” said Michigan State University’s Dr. Bruce Dale, editor of the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefineries. In a recent Forbes article, biofuels expert Helena Chum of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, commented on CBP. “This is the golden dream. All of the processes in one super-organism. That would be the lowest cost possible,” she said. CBP is widely considered to be the ultimate low-cost configuration for cellulose hydrolysis and fermentation. Multiple research advances presented by Mascoma at the 31st Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals in San Francisco provided proof of concept for CBP. These include advances with both […]

Indiana Corporate Moves

BERRY PLASTICS INVESTS $150 MILLION IN EVANSVILLE FACILITY Berry Plastics Corporation has announced plans to expand its Evansville, IN operations, creating 360 new jobs by 2015. The plastics packaging company, which employs more than 1,200 people in Evansville and more than 13,500 worldwide, will invest $150 million to expand its thermoform operations and build an additional facility to their existing campus. Construction is scheduled to begin next year. Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel recently joined executives from Berry Plastics to announce the expansion. “Berry Plastics” continued growth is a great sign that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in our state,” said Skillman. “We are pleased they have recognized Indiana as the location to grow their global operations.” Berry Plastics’ expansion plans include the addition of a new 375,800-square-foot facility to increase the capacity of drink cup manufacturing. The company also produces containers, bottles, closures, prescription vials, trash bags, duct tape and other packaging materials. “We’re excited to continue our long history of growth in Evansville where we have enjoyed a terrific relationship with our community, government and employees since 1967. We are pleased to build on our outstanding workforce in Evansville which serves as the foundation for Berry to continue to strengthen our position as a leading plastic packaging supplier,” said Bill Norman, executive vice-president of strategic planning at Berry. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Berry Plastics up to $4.9 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. The City of Evansville will provide additional tax phase-in at the request of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. “This is such great news for Evansville. In these tough economic times, it’s truly an encouraging sign to see hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in new investment coming to our community,” said Weinzapfel. “I would like to once again thank Berry Plastics for its continued partnership with the people of Evansville.” Berry Plastics’ announced expansion in Evansville is the fourth investment in four years from the plastic packaging giant. In 2005, the company expanded its existing facilities and support staff that included a 170,000-square-foot addition and 64 new jobs. In 2007, the company made two separate announcements totaling 300 jobs and more than $63 million in capital investment. Berry Plastics is a leading manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging products. Berry Plastics is a major producer of a wide range of products, including open top and closed top packaging, polyethylene-based […]

60 Seconds with William M. Sloan, of Counsel with the Law Firm Morrison & Foerster

60 Seconds with William M. Sloan, of Counsel with the Law Firm Morrison & Foerster

William Sloan is of counsel with the law firm Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco. He sits on the Climate Change Advisory Committee for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. He formerly held positions in the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Justice BF: Assuming “cap-and-trade” legislation now before Congress becomes law, what will be the primary impact on major industrial concerns? Will this force companies to significantly change the way they evaluate decisions about expansions, relocations or new facilities? WS: If the legislation does reach the finish line, it tells us a lot about the new regulatory regime that will govern major industrial concerns, but it doesn’t quite get us to the “Holy Grail” for business decisions-namely, the price of carbon. For example, a price of $6 per ton, as opposed to $60 per ton, will drastically change how businesses make strategic choices for their operations. Once businesses know what it will cost to emit a ton of carbon, then businesses can meaningfully evaluate the cost of expanding operations or relocating to other countries with a different regulatory landscape. BF: Will businesses be able to adjust quickly to the reality of carbon credits? WS: For businesses that feel behind the curve, perhaps one of the best steps they can take now, for risk assessment purposes, is to comprehensively evaluate their carbon footprint, and be sure to include a supply chain/lifecycle analysis of their business operations. Even if a business itself doesn’t produce significant emissions, it can still be vulnerable to new regulation if its suppliers will be a target of regulation, if its waste disposal costs are already a substantial expense, or if its operations are energy intensive. In the end, it all comes down to who will ultimately be saddled with paying for the cost of the emissions. BF: Do you expect state economic development agencies to broker large-scale agreements among key players regarding carbon-credits, or will each company negotiate on its own behalf? WS: In terms of credits, the primary center of market activity will be on exchanges selling at whatever is the current trading price, so I don’t see large-scale novel agreements proliferating. Depending on how the offset marketplace shapes up, you could see some new alliances and partnerships created for the purpose of developing large offset-generating projects. I have been involved in CDM projects and voluntary-offset projects where a variety of players have all collaborated, bringing their own unique expertise whether it’s finance, real estate, agriculture or energy. These collaborations have included […]