KL Energy Corporation and Brazil-based Petrobras have announced a new joint development agreement to optimize KL Energy’s cellulosic ethanol process technology for the conversion of sugarcane bagasse feedstock to ethanol. As a component of this partnership, Petrobras will invest $11 million to adapt KL Energy’s demonstration facility to use bagasse. The money will also be dedicated to validating the company’s optimized process.
In addition, the technology will be integrated into one of Petrobras’ Brazilian sugarcane mills and is scheduled to go online sometime in 2013. Once the plant is operational, it will produce approximately 15 million liters per year.
Miguel Rossetto, CEO of Petrobras Biocombustivel, said, “Petrobras views cellulosic ethanol as a very promising technology to substantially increase the ethanol output by some 40% without increasing the planted area output and further improve the carbon footprint of its sugarcane mills. This agreement with KLE will considerably accelerate this development effort and we are optimistic about the commercial potential of the optimized technology platform.”
The initial agreement is for the two companies to work together for 18 months and provides a mutually exclusive agreement to jointly develop cellulosic ethanol from bagasse. The agreement also gives Petrobras the option of securing a technology license for the use of KL Energy’s technology within the Petrobras Group.
“Brazil is the global leader in the production of affordable biofuels and biomass, and we believe that bagasse is a perfect feedstock for our process. KLE plans to be at the forefront of the emerging cellulosic ethanol market in Brazil,” said Peter Gross, President and CEO of KL Energy Corporation. “We are very excited about this opportunity and we can think of no better partner for this endeavor than Petrobras, a company globally recognized for its technological competence, social and environmental responsibility and its investments in clean energies.”
This partnership marks yet another American company to partner with a Brazlian-based company with the intention of developing biofuels.