Raízen breaks ground on Iogen cellulosic ethanol facility in Brazil
29 November 2013
Iogen Corporation announced that Brazilian ethanol giant Raízen Energia Participações S/A has started construction of a commercial biomass-to-ethanol facility using Iogen Energy’s advanced cellulosic biofuel technology. (Iogen Energy is a joint venture between Raízen and Iogen Corporation. Earlier post.)
The $100-million plant, to be located adjacent to Raízen’s Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, São Paulo, will produce 40 million liters (10.6 million gallons US) of cellulosic ethanol a year from sugarcane bagasse and straw. Plant start-up is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Iogen will provide cellulosic ethanol related process technology, process designs and start-up and operational services to Raízen through their jointly owned Iogen Energy affiliate. Iogen Energy, the original owner of the technology, has granted comprehensive licenses to both Raízen and Iogen Corp.
This announcement is just the beginning of our partnership with Iogen. We believe Iogen has the most robust, well proven, and competitive technology platform in the cellulosic ethanol business and, after this first facility is complete, we plan to combine Iogen’s cellulosic ethanol with seven more of our sugar cane production operations. We see tremendous potential for this technology in meeting the world’s growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable fuels, and we anticipate a long and profitable future.—Vasco Dias, CEO of Raízen
The announcement follows one year of development, engineering, and design work associated with the commercial cellulosic biofuels facility. After concluding that Iogen had the most advanced technology for building co-located commercial plants at Raízen’s sugar cane ethanol facilities, Raízen committed, in July 2012, an initial investment to a project in Brazil with Iogen through their jointly owned Iogen Energy affiliate.
Earlier, the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) reported that it has approved funding of BRL 207.7 million (US$89 million) for Raízen to build a production plant for second-generation ethanol using sugarcane biomass.
BNDES noted that this will be the first project that uses technologies for conversion of bagasse and cane straw at industrial scale that is fully integrated into the process of conventional ethanol, obtained from the juice of sugar cane (first generation).
The technology being deployed has undergone extensive testing and validation work. We have nine years of demonstration scale operating experience with cereal straw and corn stover, so by operating over 6 months with the Brazilian bagasse, we were able to identify differences, troubleshoot problems, collect information, and adapt designs for reliable low-cost operation.—Brian Foody, CEO of Iogen
With the technology now being commercialized in Brazil, Iogen has plans to pursue a deployment program in North America and Europe that will help meet the renewable fuel obligations in those jurisdictions.
The company is committed to building effective strategic partnerships with leading players in the industry, and believes that successful alliances, such as its one with Raízen, will be needed to deliver on the multi-billion dollar global cellulosic biofuel opportunity.
Iogen has been in the cellulosic biofuel business for more than 30 years, has invested roughly $500 million in research, development, and demonstration, and has close to 300 issued and pending patents.
Over the past nine years, Iogen has produced more than 2 million liters (528 thousand gallons US) of cellulosic ethanol in its $100-million demonstration plant using agricultural residues such as wheat straw, corn stover and bagasse as feedstocks.
Raízen Energia Participações S/A is a $12-billion joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Brazilian ethanol company Cosan S.A. that currently generates approximately $30 billion in annual revenues. It is now Brazil’s fifth largest company in terms of billable revenues and the nation’s leading manufacturer of sugarcane ethanol, with production of about 2 billion liters of ethanol annually.
This activity also includes the production of 4 million tonnes of sugar and the sale of 1.5 million MWh of electricity annually. The company has more than 4,700 service stations for retail fuel distribution in Brazil, more than 800 convenience stores, 58 fuel distribution depots, and aviation fuel businesses in 54 airports in Brazil.
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