Attis plans to convert Fulton ethanol plant to green tech campus

By Erin Voegele | January 22, 2019

On Jan. 22, Attis Industries released a press release confirming its plans to purchase an 85 MMgy corn ethanol plant located in Fulton, New York, from Sunoco LP. The company also indicated it plans to develop the site into a green tech campus that will produce cellulosic ethanol and other biomass-based coproducts.

Information released by Attis states the company has entered into a definitive assets purchase agreement with Sunoco to acquire and operate its corn ethanol plant and grain malting operation in Fulton. Total consideration for the divestiture is $20 million in cash. The company said the transaction is subject to regulatory clearances and customary closing conditions and is expected to close during the first quarter of this year. Attis said it expects to finance the transaction with non-dilutive secured debt financing.

As part of the agreement, Sunoco said it will enter into a 10-year ethanol offtake agreement with Attis. A statement released by Attis explains that offtake agreement will create valuable stability for the company as it plans its capital improvement strategy for the plant, noting “improvements made at the facility over the next 24 months will create the first of its kind, major renewable energy campus.”

According to Jeff Cosman, CEO of Attis Industries, his company will continue current corn ethanol operations at the facility, but plans to bring in advanced possessing methods to drive more value from each bushel of corn the plant processes.

A statement issued by the company notes Attis’ management team has a long-standing relationship with Sunoco and the operational team in place at the Fulton plant. Cosman explained that managers of the Attis engineering team invented and installed the Fulton plant’s corn oil extraction system, and have expanded that recovery capacity as the facility grew its ethanol production capacity. “The same team has been developing additional improvements for the facility far beyond the successes of corn oil and corn ethanol,” he said.  

Regarding planned improvements to the Fulton site, Cosman said Attis expects to invest between $80 million and $100 million in the facility and add about 100 high-skilled jobs over the next two years to develop a state-of-the-art green tech campus. “The goal would be to implement Attis’ existing suite of biomass processing and renewable fuel production technologies to manufacture more types of advanced biofuels, carbon fiber and bioplastics—all from renewable sources of carbon, such as corn and forestry residuals,” Cosman said.

According to Cosman, Attis plans to add several coproducts to the Fulton’s plants operations, including biodiesel, bioplastic additives and advanced feeds. He also noted the company plans to make energy efficiency improvements to the facility. “Carbon intensity is becoming more important and so too is energy efficiency,” he said. “Attis will be installing improvements on many fronts to take advantage of the resources available to it in New York.”

This includes the state’s forestry resources. “New York has over 18 million acres of forestland that produce over 50 million tons of biomass annually,” Cosman said. “Attis needs less than 0.3 percent of this regenerated growth to supply one of its standard biorefineries. The Fulton site is exceptional as it will allow Attis to showcase its corn ethanol and cellulosic biorefinery technologies.”