|The APR process. Click to enlarge.|
Virent Energy Systems, the developers of an Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) process that converts sugars and glycerin directly into hydrogen and other fuels, has raised a $7.5 million round of private venture financing led by Cargill Ventures.
Honda Strategic Ventures, Venture Investors, and Advantage Capital Partners also participated in this round, which will be used for product development and commercialization of its APR process.
The APR process offers a cost-effective and thermally efficient method for producing hydrogen, fuel gas, some liquid fuels and high value chemicals using renewable biomass. The company has already demonstrated and sold a system that produces SuperNatural Gas, a mixture of hydrogen and alkanes to fuel internal combustion engines. (Earlier post.)
With high efficiency and low equipment costs, this low-temperature, direct conversion process can be used for distributed power systems, fuel stations, centralized fuel production or, longer term, mobile applications. The APR systems can be designed to deliver predominantly hydrogen or alkanes (i.e. methane, ethane, propane and butane), or a customized blend of these fuels.
Virent was founded in 2002 by Dr. Randy Cortright and Dr. Jim Dumesic from the University of Wisconsin and already has received nearly $4.5 million in grants from the Department of Energy and National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Cargill Ventures is the venture capital arm of Cargill, the international provider of food, agricultural and risk management products and services.