Cobalt Technologies, a leading developer of next generation bio-based chemicals, today announced a strategic relationship with two prominent Asian chemical companies for the development of a complete biomass-to-butadiene solution, to be followed by construction of a commercial-scale biorefinery in Asia. The partners also plan to build or license additional plants to support the high growth in global butadiene demand. In support of the relationship, the partners made an equity investment in Cobalt.
A $40 billion market worldwide, butadiene is widely used in the manufacture of synthetic rubber and nylon. Butadiene is also a key ingredient in high mileage “eco-tires”, a market the company expects to grow rapidly as automakers seek to meet higher fuel economy standards.
“This agreement validates Cobalt’s ability to leverage its biobutanol platform into large high-value markets for downstream chemicals. With this agreement, we now have a path to fully-funded, large scale commercial projects in two of the three main geographies for bio-based projects – Asia and Brazil,” said Bob Mayer , CEO of Cobalt Technologies. “We believe that our long term focus on using biomass-based feedstock, as opposed to food-based sugars, has resulted in a technology advantage and lower cost production that is attracting partners worldwide.”
Under the terms of the strategic relationship, Cobalt and the partners will work together on the development of integrated technology for the conversion of biomass to butadiene. The integrated technology will form the basis for construction of a commercial-scale biomass-to-butadiene biorefinery. Work to date has demonstrated that this solution can be highly competitive with petroleum-based butadiene under current market conditions. Technology development is expected to be completed in 2014 with construction of the first plant to follow.
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, Burrill and Company and strategic investors including Bunge Global Innovation, LLC.
Source: Cobalt Technologies, press release, 2013-04-15.