Iogen Makes a Comeback in Landmark Sugarcane Cellulosic Ethanol Deal with Brazil’s Raizen
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest) World’s largest producer of sugarcane ethanol commits investment to cellulosic ethanol development with Iogen.
In Brazil, Raízen Group and Iogen Energy announced that Raízen has committed an initial investment to develop a commercial cellulosic ethanol project in Brazil with Iogen.
The investment, the first step toward the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels technology in Brazil, will cover development and engineering costs associated with the front end design of a biomass-to-ethanol facility to be co-located with Raízen’s Costa Pinto facility in Piracicaba, São Paulo.
The deal comes after Raízen conducted a thorough review of cellulosic technologies and concluded that Iogen is the company with the most advanced technology ready for commercialization at Raízen’s sugar cane ethanol facilities.
… So, we noted in May that one way to read the project cancellation was that Shell decided that it liked Brazil more than Manitoba, was going forward there, and focusing more and more on bagasse.
That appear to be the case — that what we saw in spring 2012 was not so much a strategic shift away from cellulosic investments in the likes of Iogen and Codexis, as a shift towards Brazil where Raizen, rather than Shell, would be the project and investing partner.
…There’s a new urgency in Brazil on cellulosic biofuels, after many years of focusing on first-generation. Why now?
Well, sugar prices are sky-high. That means Brazilian sugar producers want to maximize sugar production. Leaving he country potentially short on ethanol. Meanwhile, the Brazilian government has lately, through ANP, acquired substantial regulatory influence over biofuels – and is determined to ensure that access to ethanol remains widespread and that the fuel markets do not become slaves to the food markets.
The opposite, if you will, to the US market, where concerns focus on the impact of biofuel on food markets.
At the same time, Brazil is mechanizing the sugar harvest and banning the open-field cane burns. – meaning the tops and leaves are harvested instead of being cut and left on the field for burning. Can’t just leave all that biomass on the field – invites pests.