Shell and Virent expand their collaboration on Advanced BiofuelsRoyal Dutch Shell plc today announced that Shell has taken an equity stake in Virent Energy Systems, Inc., (Virent) and begun a joint technology programme seeking to convert plant sugars directly into diesel.
Since 2007, Shell and Virent have been conducting a joint research and development effort to make biogasoline from plant sugars, culminating late last year in the start-up of a pilot plant. As part of an expanded relationship, Shell has become an investor in Virent and taken a seat on Virent's board of directors. The existing joint research and development agreement will also be expanded to include research into the production of diesel.
Traditionally, biodiesel has been made from vegetable oils. This new joint technology programme will investigate Virent's BioForming® process as a means for converting plant sugars directly into diesel. The sugars could eventually be sourced from a range of non-food feedstocks such as sugarcane bagasse, corn stover and other agricultural residues.
Diesel produced with the BioForming® technology process would have the same properties as conventional diesel. It would not require specialised infrastructure and could be transported through existing pipelines. The fuel could also be blended with conventional diesel in higher concentrations than conventional biodiesel.
"This investment demonstrates Shell's confidence in Virent's catalytic biofuel production processes,'' said Luis Scoffone, Vice President of Alternative Energies at Shell. ''The expansion of our joint technology programme to include research into the production of diesel from plant sugars offers considerable potential and complements Shell's wider biofuels portfolio.''
"Virent is proud to deepen our strategic relationship with Shell with their equity investment and expanded research collaboration", said Lee Edwards, Virent president and CEO. "Shell is a global industry leader who adds resources and expertise to our research and scale-up plans, which now include research to convert plant sugars directly into diesel fuel."
Royal Dutch Shell plc
Royal Dutch Shell plc is incorporated in England and Wales, has its headquarters in The Hague and is listed on the London, Amsterdam, and New York stock exchanges. Shell companies have operations in more than 100 countries and territories with businesses including oil and gas exploration and production; production and marketing of liquefied natural gas and gas to liquids; manufacturing, marketing and shipping of oil products and chemicals and renewable energy projects. www.shell.com/aboutshell
Shell is working to meet government mandates for biofuel and has become the world's largest distributor of biofuels. The company is working with biofuel manufacturers to secure cost-effective supply with clear social and environmental standards. Shell is a leader in the development of advanced biofuels. Shell's global programme includes collaborations with Iogen Energy (on the production of enzymatic cellulosic ethanol from agricultural waste), Codexis (on enzyme conversion) and a joint venture called Cellana (research of marine algae for vegetable oil).
Virent Energy Systems, Inc
Virent's BioForming process is a leading technology for the production of sustainable advanced biofuels, including biogasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, and many chemicals. The process has won numerous technology and innovation awards including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge and the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer awards. Virent has 80 employees and a state of the art catalytic biorefining development facility located in Madison, Wisconsin. Virent counts premier, global companies Cargill, Shell, and Honda, among its investors. The BioForming technology is based on the patented Aqueous Phase Reforming process. To learn more, visit: www.virent.com. - opens in new window
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Posted: June 9, 2010
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