Novozymes and Beta Renewables have joined in a partnership to jointly market and develop cellulosic biofuel solutions. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will acquire a 10 percent share in Beta Renewables, paying approximately $115 million cash for the equity, marketing fees, other intellectual property rights and milestone payments. The partners will offer biofuel companies Novozymes’ Cellic enzymes embedded into Beta Renewables PROSEA engineering and production technology.
“This type of complete offering will significantly de-risk cellulosic biofuel projects financially as well as technologically for our customers,” says Beta Renewables’ Chairman and CEO, Guido Ghisolfi. “It will make cellulosic biofuel projects bankable and accelerate large-scale commercialization of the industry.”
Beta Renewables’ PROESA technology will be used in the cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy where operations are expected to begin by the end of 2012. The plant will begin by producing nearly 13 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year from wheat straw along with other biomass-based feedstocks. The plant has a nameplate capacity of 20 million gallons per year. In addition, Beta Renewables has a deal to build a manufacturing plant in Brazil with GraalBio and has also received a $99 million loan guarantee from the USDA to build a biofuels plant in North Carolina.
Peder Holk Nielsen, executive vice president at Novozymes, said, “Large-scale commercialization of cellulosic biofuels is taking off, and this is a fantastic opportunity for Novozymes. Beta Renewables is an extremely committed industry front-runner. They are building advanced biofuel facilities all over the world and, by being their preferred enzyme supplier, Novozymes will gain access to significant new business opportunities. We expect Beta Renewables to be able to contract 15-25 new facilities within the next three to five years. The sales potential for Novozymes from these plants could be up to $175 million.”