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Cobalt Technologies and Rhodia jointly to develop bagasse-based bio n-butanol market in Latin America

Cobalt Technologies, a developer of next generation bio-based chemicals and Rhodia, a specialty chemical company, executed a Memorandum of Understanding setting the basis for a strategic alliance to develop bio n-butanol refineries throughout Latin America.

Under the terms of the alliance, Cobalt and Rhodia will work together to deploy Cobalt’s technology for the conversion of sugar cane bagasse into n-butanol for the chemicals and fuels market. The parties will initially develop options for deploying Cobalt’s technology at a sugar mill. Following this first step, the partners will jointly develop a demonstration plant to demonstrate Cobalt’s technology on site in Brazil. Following the demonstration plant the parties intend to construct multiple bio-refineries co-located with sugar mills, first in Brazil and then in other Latin American countries.

This relationship establishes a clear path to commercialization for our technology. Rhodia is the perfect partner for expansion into Brazil and Latin America. They have a long history of successful operations in Brazil and have significant experience in sugar mill operations through their ownership of a bagasse-based power plant co-located with a sugar mill. Additionally, Rhodia is a renowned global chemical company, providing us a unique opportunity to market our products internationally through our partnership.

—Rick Wilson, Ph.D., and CEO of Cobalt Technologies

Bio n-butanol based on bagasse will enlarge our Augeo range of biosourced solvents and perfectly fits with Rhodia’s sustainable development strategy. We are convinced that Cobalt’s bagasse-based leading-edge technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term.

—Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit

A widely used industrial chemical found in paints, lacquers and other surface coatings, n-butanol has a global market of more than $5 billion—approximately eight times the size of the market for isobutanol. By producing low-cost bio n-butanol, Cobalt’s technology enables the use of bio n-butanol as a platform molecule for application in a broad array of chemical markets, including the plastics and synthetic rubber markets. Cobalt’s low-cost platform also enables fuels production such as jet fuel. Cobalt and the US Navy have jointly developed technology to convert Cobalt’s bio n-butanol into full performance jet fuel and are on track to achieve fuel certification. (Earlier post.)

Cobalt’s technology platform offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstocks into biobutanol.


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