Virent Spearheads Strategic Biobased Group

Joanna Schroeder

In an effort to complete the development and ultimately bring to commercial production its BioForming technology, Virent has spearheaded a strategic consortium. Members include: Tesoro, Toray, Johnson Matthey and The Coca-Cola Company- companies who would all benefit from biobased products. The group will work together to finalize technical developments and commercial arrangements, with the goal of getting a commercial scale biorefinery online to produce cost competitive biofuels and bio-paraxylene, a key raw material for the production of 100 percent bio-polyester.

virent-logoEach member will provide to the project technical and engineering assistance, infrastructure, supply chain support and/or product off-take commitments. The Consortium will work jointly to develop the scale up strategy, including the size and location of the first plant, which will be strengthened by fuel and chemical offtake commitments. In addition, Johnson Matthey (JM) and Virent will create a technical team to conclude catalyst and process development, as well as the subsequent marketing and licensing of the resulting low carbon fuels and chemicals technology platform.

“This is a critical and innovative approach to address scale-up challenges inherent in the deployment of renewable technologies,” said Lee Edwards, Virent CEO. “We are delighted to share a common vision with a global group of respected industry leaders, recognized for their innovation and commitment to meet the changing needs of their customers who seek more sustainable products and services.”

Earlier this month, Tesoro announced plans to acquire Virent. Tesoro Executive Vice President of Operations CJ Warner says the Consortium will be a key to developing a commercial scale deployment plan for Virent’s technology. Warner added, “We are focused on fostering the development of high-quality, lower-carbon, renewable feedstocks and blendstocks that can either be co-processed in existing refineries or blended seamlessly with traditional fuels.

The combined capabilities and resources of the consortium members will provide significant advantages as the Consortium progresses the technology and commercial deployment. Other parties may join the Consortium over time to complement the current members and provide further support to the effort.

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