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Royal Nedalco and Mascoma to Partner on Cellulosic Ethanol; Nedalco Announces New Cellulosic Plant

Royal Nedalco and Mascoma Corporation have signed a license and joint development agreement to further their initiatives to commercialize ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass.

Concurrent with the announcement of the partnership, Royal Nedalco announced it will build a cellulosic ethanol plant in the Dutch town of Sas van Gent with a capacity of 200 million liters (about 53 million gallons US)—or about 2.5% of the European market for ethanol.

The objective of the technology partnership is to license Nedalco’s yeast-based technology for use in Mascoma’s recently announced demonstration plant and for use in future Mascoma commercial plants, and to explore collaborative research efforts to accelerate production of second generation bioethanol.

The companies expect to exchange related know how and to engage in specific joint research programs to develop lignocellulosic ethanol from agricultural side streams, such as straw and wood waste.

We consider Nedalco’s technology a key innovation in making fuel ethanol from cellulose a practical and sustainable reality for consumers.

—Mascoma President and Director Dr. Colin South

Royal Nedalco has a strong international technology and patent position in the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic ethanol. The company has modified the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast to enable the anaerobic fermentation of xylose as well as glucose. (Earlier post.)

The Nedalco plant will use its proprietary yeast to produce bioethanol from cellulosic biomass. Use of this second-generation biofuel can reduce the CO2 emissions of road transport by 60 to 80%, according to Nedalco.

Mascoma focuses on consolidating the many biologically mediated steps involved in ethanol production into a single step (Consolidated Bioprocessing, CBP). Mascoma is developing organisms to break down the cellulose, ferment sugar, tolerate high concentrations of ethanol and to devote most of their metabolic resources to ethanol production. (Earlier post.)

The company is completing designs and partnerships to build and operate commercial cellulosic ethanol plants using both internally developed and licensed technology across multiple biomass feedstocks.

This partnership establishes a significant collaboration among leading lignocellulosic ethanol companies to develop processes related to Royal Nedalco's modified yeasts, and to commercialize cost-effective cellulosic ethanol production.

—Dartmouth College Professor Lee R. Lynd, a Mascoma co-founder

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