Solazyme’s Hybrid Vigor

Jim Lane Solazyme lands monster capacity expansion agreements with Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge (BG)– what’s the sector’s hottest company up to now? Wednesday, Solazyme (SZYM) announced two landmark capacity expansion agreements with Bunge and ADM, respectively. The Bunge agreement will expand joint venture-owned oil production capacity at Solazyme Bunge Renewable Oils from the current 100,000 metric tons under construction in Brazil to 300,000 metric tons by 2016 at select Bunge owned and operated processing facilities worldwide. Under the terms of the ADM agreement, Solazyme will initially target the production of 20,000 metric tons of...

Solazyme’s Parity-Cost, Algae-Based Biodiesel on Sale to Public

Jim Lane $27 per gallon? $15 per gallon? Fooey! Try algae-based fuels at “the same cost as regular diesel.” Month-long pilot program kicks off in the San Francisco Bay Area. In California, Propel Fuels and Solazyme (SZYM) are bringing algae-derived fuel to retail pumps for what we believe to be the first time in history. The two leading renewable fuel brands have come together to offer Solazyme’s algae-based SoladieselBD to drivers through Propel’s Bay Area network of retail renewable fuel locations. The month-long pilot program provides the industry’s first opportunity to test consumer response to this advanced...

Neste Oil: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Company description: Neste Oil is a refining and marketing company, with a production focus on premium-quality, lower-emission traffic fuels. The company produces a comprehensive range of major petroleum products and is the world’s leading supplier of renewable diesel. The company has operations in 15 countries. Its growth strategy is focused on producing premium- quality renewable diesel fuel. The company had net sales of EUR 11.9 billion in 2010 and employs around 5,000 people. Address: Keilaranta
 P.O. Box 95 00095 NESTE OIL Year founded Established in 1948 Annual Revenues: Around EUR 11.9 billion in 2010 Major Investors Neste Oil’s share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki with the...

Abengoa Bioenergy: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Location: St. Louis Year founded: USA – 1982 EU – 1998 Brazil – 2007 Type of technology(s): a. Traditional fermentation of cereal grains and sugar cane for the commercial production of bioethanol b. Traditional transesterification for the production of biodiesel from cereal and vegetable oils. c. Multiple technology options for the commercial demonstration of cellulosic fuel production. Fuel Type: Bioethanol, biodiesel. Major Investors Abengoa is a public company, of which Abengoa Bioenergy is a wholly-owned subsidiary.  Abengoa trades in Madrid with the symbol ABG, and as ABGOF on...

Gusher! KiOR starts production of US cellulosic biofuels at scale

Jim Lane The Lucas gusher at Spindletop Hill, South of Beaumont, TX. Jan 1, 1901.   500 ton per day wood biomass to biocrude plant commences oil production – the long wait for cellulosic biofuels at scale is over. “With a roar like a hundred express trains racing across the countryside, the well blew out, spewing oil in all directions.” Well, the startup of biocrude production at KiOR, Inc.’s (KIOR)Columbus plant arrived with less drama than the above-described gusher at Spindletop in 1901. And James Dean was nowhere to be...

KiOR: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane KiOR, Inc. is a next-generation renewable fuels company that has developed a proprietary technology platform to convert sustainable non-food biomass into cellulosic gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. Using standard refinery equipment, KiOR’s products are compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure. KiOR strives to ease dependence on foreign oil, reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and create high-quality jobs and economic benefit across rural communities. Address: 13001 Bay Park Road, Pasadena, TX 77507 Year founded: 2007 Stock: Nasdaq: KIOR. As of 8/31/12 Khosla Ventures, Artis Capital, Alberta Investment Management Corporation and other major...

BP Biofuels: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Address: 1 St James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4PD. UK. Year founded BP Biofuels was set up in 2006. BP p.l.c. celebrated its centenary in 2009. Company description: BP Biofuels is a leading global biofuels player, with a breadth of investment that is unique in terms of both its scale and its reach. Since 2006, BP has announced investments of more than $2 billion in biofuels research, development and operations, and has production facilities operating or in the planning/construction phases in Brazil and Europe. BP Biofuels has investments throughout the entire...

Is Gevo still Gevolicious?

Jim Lane Though a panic-inducing analyst report circulates on the internet, the consensus among analysts continues to be bullish on the biobased isobutanol pioneer. With Gevo, Inc.’s stock (NASD:GEVO) in the toilet as of now, trading at $2.00 the company has a market cap of $79 million and $92 million in the bank. When any company much less one with a hot technology is trading at less than its cash-on-hand value, it’s both rare and a reason to reflect on the financial state of affairs. Especially since alarming reports such as David...

Gevo: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Address: 345 Inverness Dr. South; Bldg. C; Suite 345, Englewood, CO 80112 Year founded: 2005 website: www.gevo.com Stock: NASD: GEVO Type of Technology(ies): Gevo has two proprietary technologies that combine to make it possible to retrofit existing ethanol plants to produce isobutanol, a four carbon alcohol which serves as a  hydrocarbon platform molecule.  We have developed a robust industrial scale yeast biocatalyst to produce isobutanol without typical byproducts operating at parameters equivalent to commercial ethanol producers.  The second piece of technology is a separations unit that operates continuously and removes isobutanol...

Honeywell’s UOP: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Based in: Illinois Business: Honeywell’s UOP has developed a renewable jet fuel processing technology, as well as a joint venture. UOP and Ensyn announced the formation of a new joint venture, dubbed Envergent Technologies, that will market technologies and equipment for generating power, transportation fuel and heating oil from biomass using pyrolysis. The joint venture will utilize forest and agriculture residues as feedstocks in a Rapid Thermal process, where feedstocks are heated in the absence of oxygen, to produce pyrolysis oils that can be utilized directly in heating oil or power gen. UOP...

Amyris: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Address: 5885 Hollis Street, Emeryville, CA Year founded: 2003 Annual Revenues: $38 billion (DuPont overall for 2011) $1.2 billon (Industrial Biosciences unit for 2011) Company description: Amyris is an integrated renewable chemicals and fuels company founded in 2003 and based in Emeryville, CA, with additional operations in Chicago, IL and Campinas, Brazil. Amyris has over 400 employees, with three-quarters of its employees located in the United States. Amyris subsidiaries include Amyris Brasil Ltda., a wholly-owned Brazilian company through which Amyris conducts its Brazilian operations for the manufacture and...

Dupont Industrial Biosciences: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Address: 1007 North Market Street Wilmington, DE 19898 Year founded: DuPont: 1802 DuPont Industrial Biosciences: 2011 Annual Revenues: $38 billion (DuPont overall for 2011) $1.2 billon (Industrial Biosciences unit for 2011) Company description: Last year, DuPont purchased Danisco and its Genencor unit and added their expertise into a new unit: DuPont Industrial Biosciences. This integration allows us to optimize DuPont’s bioscience technology and commercialization capabilities with Genencor’s biofuel enzyme technology. DuPont is committed to being a part of the solution to develop renewably sourced biofuels. For...

Codexis: a 5-Minute Guide

Jim Lane Address: 200 Penobscot Drive Redwood City, CA 94063 Year founded 2002 Annual Revenues: $107 million (2010) Company description: Codexis serves major worldwide markets where clean technology can make a positive economic and environmental impact. Codexis CodeEvolver ™ directed evolution technology accelerates development of high value sustainable products. Our focus is on the cost-effective conversion of renewable resources into transportation fuels, pharmaceuticals and biobased chemicals, and on the development of new technologies for effective air and water treatment. Stock: CDXS; NasdaqGS Type of Technology(ies): Directed evolution – CodeEvolver™ directed evolution...

Big Biofuel Balance Sheets: A Stampede of Elephants

Jim Lane Elephant herd running photo via Bigstock 28 big balance sheets deploying capital into commercial-scale advanced biofuels. Who’s writing the checks, and for what, and when? It’s become an article of faith among the unenlightened that advanced biofuels are always five years away, and the chief investors are the US Department of Energy and a gaggle of key Obama campaign donors. The Wall Street Journal, last December, opined: “Congress subsidized a product that didn’t exist, mandated its purchase though it still didn’t exist,...

Solazyme: Microbes in the Dark

by Debra Fiakas CFA The previous post “Solazyme's Detours on the Way to Algae Biofuel” began a discussion of Solazyme, Inc. (SZYM:  Nasdaq), a self-described “oil developer” targeting three commercial markets that are known heavy oil users:  chemical and fuel, nutrition and skin care.  Solazyme touts its ability to serve customers with oils tailored to their specific needs, creating a paradigm shift from the status quo where formulators and manufacturers must design around the limitations of conventional oils. Solazyme is attempting to harness the oil producing capability of microalgae -  the most diminutive...

Emissions Standards Driving Algae Aviation Fuel Sourcing…or not

by Debra Fiakas CFA Algae in the River Wate photo via BigStock My post “Algae Takes Flight” featured Algae-Tec (ALGXY:  OTC/PK),  Lufthansa’s new biofuel partner.  Algae-Tec has agreed to operate an algae-based biofuel plant in Europe to supply Lufthansa with jet fuel.  Lufthansa is footing the capital costs of the plant, which is to be located in Europe near a carbon source.  Algae thrive on carbon so industrial plants and power plants using fossil fuels make the best neighbors.  Lufthansa has agreed to purchase a...