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Virgin Group and NTR Form Ethanol Joint Venture; Initial $336 Million Investment in US

NTR plc and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group have formed a joint venture company—VBV LLC (Virgin Bioverda)—to exploit opportunities in the biofuels sector with particular focus on US-based ethanol.

Bioverda (the bio-energy division of NTR plc), along with Virgin Fuels, through VBV, also announced an initial investment of US$336 million (€260 million) in two 100 million gallon corn ethanol plants, one in Indiana (Indiana Bioenergy LLC), the other in Tennessee (Ethanol Grain Processors LLC). Fagen Inc. will build both plants, which are expected to be completed in the first half of 2008.

VBV LLC has already identified a number of additional projects for development in 2007/08. The Virgin Bioverda partnership intends to look for additional biofuel opportunities in North America and Europe.

In September 2006, Virgin Group announced it would invest up to $400 million in renewable energy projects through the Virgin Fuels subsidiary. Virgin Fuels’ first investment was $60 million in Cilion, a new joint venture between Western Milling, California’s largest grain milling company, and Khosla Ventures, a venture assistance and venture capital firm led by Vinod Khosla. (Earlier post.) The push into biofuels is part of a larger $3 billion pledge to tackle greenhouse gas emissions that Branson announced at the Clinton Global Initiative conference last year. (Earlier post.)

The tremendous potential for this partnership should be seen in the context of both organizations’ commitment to the commercial development of renewable energy and to the recent announcement by Sir Richard Branson, on behalf of Virgin, to invest up to $3 billion over the next 10 years to combat global warming and NTR’s recently announced corporate strategy to invest up to €3 billion in renewable energy over the next 5 years.

—Jim Barry, Chief Executive of NTR plc

Bioverda is a 100% wholly-owned subsidiary of NTR plc established to develop, own and operate sustainable bio-energy businesses focusing on methane (landfill gas and coal mine methane); biogas (large scale anaerobic digestion); and biofuel (biodiesel and bioethanol).



It looks like Sir Richard wastes no time in getting with the program. Now, if we could just invoke this kind of energy in other movers and shakers.


I'd say it is time for Sir Richard Branson to look into second generatin biofuels, like NExBTL, "Green Diesel", and other BTL products and conversion processes.


Hi All,

Yep, there are good buisness oportunities taking advantage of the protected Ethanol industry in the US. Now even foriegn capital is flowing in to make money off this artificiality.

Mark A

What are all these etyhanol plants going to use for their feedstock? Our food?


E5 would take about 25% of the projected corn crop in the U.S., that is why cellulose is so important to go any further. Many of the ethanol plants being built may be able to process ethanol from cellulose using enzymes, with additional facilities. We are at about 3% of our 150 billion gallon per year fuel usage being ethanol, so we have a ways to go.


So let me ask you this: It's a safe assumption the current US ethanol capacity (~6B gal/yr?) is already being consumed? Can someone point me to a reference as to where it's all going and in what proportions?

fyi CO2

Even Branson wants to get a piece of our coddled ethanol industry giveaway.
The pinch is already being felt.

Catholic Relief Services, one of several organizations that distribute U.S.-donated food in Africa and Latin America, expects to deliver 161,000 tons of corn this year, down from 200,000 tons last year.
"In the long run, it means that we are fueling our cars with food that people might have eaten. There are important trade-offs," said Lisa Kuennen-Asfaw, director of public resources for the Baltimore group.



You might try:


They have a 50 state analysis. It might show where it is being made and used.


Not directly related, but I have noticed recently that the net energy balance of corn ethanol has been shown to be positive... what's changed since a year ago, when the word was that the balance was negative? Newer technologies? Or have different people with different stakes in corn ethanol been conducting the latest studies? Any ideas?


How can i get to learn biofuel & biodiesel production?
Can i also get funding?

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