Industrial biotech’s biggest and grandest show, the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, continued today in Montreal and there was a Capital W in World today on the main stage.
The opening plenary featured India’s Praj, Sweden’s SEKAB, Canada’s Air Canada, France’s Global Bioenergies, and more Queenslanders on and around the stage than you’ll see at a Rugby League fixture — the onstage duties being handled the the charismatic Queensland State Development minister, Dr, Anthony Lynham.
And Germany’s Audi was there in spirit — owing to last minute logistics issues for Audi’s team, Global Bioenergies CEO Marc Delcoirt presented Audi’s slides, and stole the World Congress show when he said, “well, first of all, speaking as Audi as I am here to do, I have to say that we at Audi really think that Global Bioenergies is the best partner we could ever have.”
The opening plenary — Second Generation Biofuels poised for Big Wins — was striking not only for its international character — but the extent to which the dialogue around advanced fuels has become about the actions of doers, rather than the aspirations of inventors.
3 Hot Newstories from the World Congress Floor
1. Praj-Gevo Going commercial with sugarcane, molasses isobutanol. Praj and Gevo confirmed that Gevo’s proprietary isobutanol technology will now be available for licensing to processors of sugar cane juice and molasses. This follows on the back of Praj’s development work, adapting Gevo’s technology to sugar cane and molasses feedstocks.
Licensing is expected to be focused on Praj plants located in India, South America and South East Asia, with initial capacity targeted to come on-line in the 2019/2020 timeframe. But anywhere with sugarcane will be in focus — and down the line, think sugarcane bagasse. Gevo is expected to be the primary off-taker, marketer and initial distributor for isobutanol produced from the plants built by Praj that use Gevo’s isobutanol technology. So, think US export opportunities for these plants — an opportunity to access RINs with a high-value fuel that bypasses the blendwall — and can be upgraded by Gevo into higher-value hydrocarbon fuel.
Production will be in side-by-side mode – ethanol plus isobutanol capacity — to minimize downtime and give supply flexibility depending on demand.
A Joint Development Agreement and a Development License Agreement were entered into between Praj and Gevo in November 2015. The goal of these agreements was for Praj to adapt Gevo’s isobutanol technology to using non-corn based sugars and lignocellulose feedstocks. The process technology development was performed at Matrix, Praj’s R&D center located in Pune, India.
Isooctane and renewable gasoline made from cane juice- and molasses-based isobutanol are expected to be very low in carbon content, offering new approaches to markets where low carbon fuels are valued, such as California and other geographies.
2. Queensland RFA to partner with below50 to commercialize ultra low-carb fuels.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Queensland Renewable Fuels Association signed a partnership agreement to scale up the development and use of low-carbon fuels through WBCSD’s below50 initiative.
below50 is a unique collaboration that brings together the entire value-chain for the world’s most sustainable fuels. It brings forward-thinking businesses together to promote fuels that can achieve significant carbon reductions, emitting at least 50% fewer greenhouse gasses (GHGs) than traditional fossil fuels.
Through the new partnership, WBCSD and the QRFA plan to raise the profile and contribution low-carbon fuels can make in decarbonizing transport across Australia – expanding below50 from Europe and North America, into the Pacific. The new collaboration opens the door for below50 partnerships to a wider set of stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region and will help profile Queensland’s leadership in the low-carbon fuels space.
“below50 is about increasing understanding of the essential role low-carbon fuels can have in the transition to a sustainable world. Carbon emissions are a global issue and we need all regions in the world to help solve that problem” said Rasmus Valanko, Director,Climate and Energy at WBCSD, on the significance of Australia’s involvement.
“The domestic accountability and transition to a low-carbon fuel economy is a catalyst driver to the bigger global approach,” said Larissa Rose, Managing Director at Queensland’s Renewable Fuels Association.
3. Lygos signs van Walsem. Lygos, a leading innovator in developing sustainable high-value specialty chemicals, today announced that industry veteran Johan van Walsem will join as Chief Operations Officer. van Walsem brings more than 25 years of industry experience in bio-process engineering and a demonstrated track record in developing, scaling up and commercializing advanced fermentation processes.