US Cobalt Tech, Rhodia to develop bagasse-based n-butanol refineries

19 October 2011 17:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Cobalt Technologies plans to work with French speciality chemicals firm Rhodia on developing bio-based n-butanol refineries in South America, the US biochemicals firm said on Wednesday.

Cobalt said that, under a memorandum of understanding with Rhodia, the two companies would develop refinery projects to convert sugar cane bagasse into n-butanol for chemicals and fuels markets.

In a first step, the partners plan to build a pilot project to demonstrate Cobalt's technology to convert of sugar cane bagasse into n-butanol, it said.

After that, Cobalt and Rhodia plan to build “multiple biorefineries” co-located with sugar mills – first in Brazil, and then in other Latin American countries, Cobalt said.

Capacities, timelines and financial details were not disclosed.

California-based Cobalt is a bio-based chemicals firm focused on a technology platform for the production of n-butanol from non-food feedstocks. In April, Cobalt announced plans to develop a cellulosic biorefinery to produce biobutanol at a site in Michigan.

France-based Rhodia is an international speciality chemicals producer. Last year, it announced plans for a project to use bagasse-based biomass to generate electricity at a cogeneration power plant in Brazil.

Rhodia is part of Belgium’s Solvay, which acquired the former earlier this year.

Read Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals blog for views on sustainability issues
For more on Rhodia and Solvay visit ICIS company intelligence

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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