MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. and SAO PAULO, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cobalt Technologies, a leading developer of next generation bio-based chemicals and specialty chemical company Rhodia, member of the Solvay Group, today announced they will begin joint development and operation of a biobutanol demonstration facility in Brazil. This is one more step by the two companies toward the construction of commercial-scale biorefineries using Cobalt's technology to convert Brazilian bagasse and other local non-food feedstock into bio n-butanol in Latin America. Butanol is widely used as an industrial chemical found in paints, adhesives, inks, and other solvents.
"This agreement puts us on a clear path towards commercialization, which will result in the development of the first commercial-scale biorefinery using bagasse as a feedstock for the production of biobutanol," said Bob Mayer, CEO of Cobalt Technologies. "We are very pleased to be working with Rhodia. Our corporate values and goals are aligned and Rhodia's experience in the global chemical markets and long history of success in Latin America position us well for success."
Under the Term Sheet, Cobalt and Rhodia will build and operate a biobutanol demonstration plant, which will validate Cobalt's technology and its ability to seamlessly integrate with existing sugar mills in Brazil. Work will begin in August 2012 and will move to a mill site in early 2013 for integration testing. Operational testing at the demonstration plant is expected to be completed by Mid-2013.
"We are convinced that Cobalt's technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term, while also enhancing our sustainable development strategy related to our Augeo® range of biosourced solvents," said Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit. "We look forward to our continued partnership, working closely with Cobalt to capitalize on the massive market opportunity for bio n-butanol in Latin American and beyond."
Over the past nine months, the two companies explored options for integrating Cobalt's technology into existing sugar mills. This feasibility phase confirmed the scalability and attractive economics of Cobalt's biomass processing and advanced fermentation technology, as well as its viability to work with Brazil's local biomass, prompting the companies to sign today's Term Sheet that moves their relationship into its next phase.
About Cobalt Technologies
Cobalt Technologies is a leader in commercializing the production of bio n-butanol as a renewable chemical and fuel. N-butanol is a widely used industrial chemical found in paints, lacquers and other surface coatings, with a global market of over $5 billion. By producing low-cost bio n-butanol, Cobalt's unique technology enables the use of bio n-butanol as a platform molecule for the production of a broad array of fuels and chemicals, including jet fuel, bio-based plastics and synthetic rubber. Cobalt's technology platform offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstocks into biobutanol. Engineered to achieve low costs through its proprietary biocatalyst, advanced bioreactor, energy efficient design and the use of low-cost feedstock, Cobalt is making biobutanol and its derivatives a cost-effective substitute to petroleum-based chemical products.
Cobalt is based in Mountain View, Calif. Cobalt is backed by leading investors in the cleantech sector, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Parsons & Whittemore, Life Sciences Partners (LSP), @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company. For more information, please visit www.cobalttech.com.
Coatis, a Global Business Unit of Rhodia, develops oxygenated solvents and manufactures phenol-based products and derivatives specifically for the worldwide market. It has a leadership position for phenol and oxygenated solvents in the Latin American market.
Rhodia, member of the Solvay group, is a specialty chemical company resolutely committed to sustainable development. As a leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers' performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate. Structured around 11 Global Business Units, Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, electronics, flavors and fragrances, health, personal and home care markets, consumer goods and industrial markets.
SOLVAY is an international chemical Group committed to sustainable development with a clear focus on innovation and operational excellence. It is realizing over 90% of its sales in markets where it is among the top 3 global leaders. Solvay offers a broad range of products that contribute to improving the quality of life and the performance of its customers in markets such as consumer goods, construction, automotive, energy, water and environment, and electronics. The Group is headquartered in Brussels, employs about 31,000 people in 55 countries and generated EUR 12.7 billion in net sales in 2011 (pro forma). Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on NYSE Euronext in Brussels and Paris (Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR).
SOURCE Cobalt Technologies