HAYWARD, Calif., March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. (MBI) and BP Biofuels have signed a four-year agreement to conduct a demonstration field trial of Mendel's PowerCane™ Miscanthus and evaluate its performance as feedstock for biofuel production at BP Biofuels' demonstration plant at Jennings, Louisiana.
"This agreement is an important next step in our long-standing partnership with BP Biofuels," said Don Panter, president, Mendel BioEnergy Seeds, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MBI. "BP Biofuels will evaluate our new PowerCane™ Miscanthus product in large field trials and test it at demonstration scale in their biofuel conversion process."
A total of 100 acres of PowerCane™ Miscanthus will be planted in early 2012 near BP's Jennings facility and the first biomass harvest from these fields is expected in 2013.
"As we move toward commercial production of cellulosic biofuels and work to bring costs in line with conventional fuels, agricultural advancements such as this will be a critical factor," said Sue Ellerbusch, president of BP Biofuels North America.
PowerCane™ Miscanthus represents a new chapter in biomass production. While the current publicly available miscanthus varieties have outstanding agronomic and biomass performance characteristics, they must be planted as a rhizome or live plug, which requires additional investment and equipment for growers.
"PowerCane™ Miscanthus varieties are the first miscanthus products specifically developed for biomass production that can be planted as a seed," said Panter. "The PowerCane™ Miscanthus system will be significantly more economical and efficient for growers, and will allow the industry to scale up more quickly to meet renewable energy goals."
BP Biofuels currently operates a biofuels demonstration facility in Jennings, La that is used to test new cellulosic technologies in the biofuels production process. BP is also constructing a 20,000 acre energy grass farm in Florida that will supply a 36 million gallon a year conversion facility. Construction on the facility is expected to commence later this year.
About Mendel Biotechnology, Inc.
Mendel Biotechnology, Inc. (MBI) is a premier independent corporation developing new genetic and chemical solutions for improvement of crop yield and resource use efficiency. It is also dedicated to becoming the leading seed company serving the bioenergy industry. MBI has expertise in the application of functional genomics in studying plant genes and is a pioneer in the production of dedicated energy crops critical for second generation biofuels. MBI has identified and patented the use of genes that control many aspects of plant growth and development, and is applying these inventions to develop or co-develop new plant varieties with improved productivity and quality. MBI has relationships with leading agricultural, energy, forestry and horticulture companies for the commercialization of improved seed and plant products, and is developing new seed and feedstock products for the emerging bioenergy markets. For more information, visit: www.mendelbio.com.
SOURCE Mendel Biotechnology, Inc.