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Shell Exits Algae as It Commences “Year of Choices”

Submitted by on January 31, 2011 – 9:27 amNo Comment

by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  …Last week [after previously exiting their investment in Choren, a Fischer-Tropsch technology based in Germany]  Shell announced that it will will exit its shareholding in Cellana, a joint venture between Shell and HR Biopetroleum. Today, HRBP will become the sole owner of Cellana, including its six-acre demonstration facility in Kona, Hawaii.

To support the transition, Shell has agreed to provide short-term funding to advance and focus the algae technology development program which is supported by stakeholders including the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts consortium, and the DOE.

…Ed Shonsey, HRBP CEO, said, “We will continue to operate Cellana’s Kona demonstration facility and to continuously improve the economics for growing marine algae using HRBP’s patented process.

…We think Shell is vitally interested in the junction between the Virent technology – producing diesel and biogasoline from sugar — and its considerable assets in Brazil as feedstock source and deployment point. If Virent nails its technology to a viable performance point, Shell has the feedstock, management, local presence and the downstream scale to completely dominate the growth opportunities in the Brazilian market.

…Long-term, we sure like the Codexis investment as a means to liberate cellulosic sugars from pre-treated bagasse and vinasse (saccharification), and potentially to produce up to eight-carbon alcohols (octanol) from bagasse.

We see Iogen, contributed as it is now to the Cosan JV, as a technology that could advanced that story by giving Shell options to produce cellulosic ethanol as a supplement to sugarcane ethanol.   READ MORE

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