Chevron Corporation and Weyerhauser Company have signed a letter of intent (LOI) to jointly assess the feasibility of commercializing the production of biofuels from cellulose-based sources.
The companies will focus on researching and developing technology that can transform wood fiber and other nonfood sources of cellulose into biofuels for transportation. Feedstock options include a wide range of materials from Weyerhauser’s existing forest and mill system and cellulosic crops planted on Weyerhauser’s managed forest plantations.
The two companies said the partnership reflects their shared view that cellulosic biofuels will fill an important role by providing a source of low-carbon transportation fuel. The venture leverages the strengths of both companies, combining Chevron’s technology capabilities in molecular conversion, product engineering, advanced fuel manufacturing and fuels distribution with Weyerhauser’s expertise in collection and transformation of cellulosics into engineered materials, crop management, biomass conversion and capacity to deliver sustainable cellulose-based fiber at scale.
Chevron is investing in cellulosic biofuels because we believe they will play a role in meeting future energy growth. This collaboration aligns with our long-term business strategy to accelerate the commercial development of nonfood based biofuels. While there are several research and technology hurdles that will need to be addressed before large-scale commercialization of cellulosic feedstocks occurs, we believe this partnership will accelerate the achievement of that reality. Both partners share the objective of sustainable commercialization of these fuels at industrial scale.—Dave O’Reilly, chairman and CEO of Chevron
Both Chevron and Weyerhauser already have separate research partnerships under way to accelerate the development of cellulosic biofuels. Chevron has alliances with the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of California at Davis, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Weyerhauser is collaborating with several research universities, national laboratories and technology-based companies in research on conversion of forest products into ethanol and other biofuels.