Green chem startups to watch

Undertaking a list of who’s who in the green chemistry start-up field is a little bit difficult to do as for one thing, promoting their business takes money, and they would rather invest their money in developing their technologies first before spreading out their name. Of course, they still have to get out and get money from the investment world so that’s when we (the media) hear snippets of information of who are entering this growing sector.

Here, for example, is a new company based in Menlo Park, California, called Rennovia, (thanks to my informant from the green underworld *lol*). This early stage green chemical development company recently raised $6 million in startup funding from 5AM Ventures and Versant Ventures, as noted in their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

The company did not disclosed what renewable-based chemicals it will make but according to, Rennovia will reveal more details in a website that they will launch in the next week or so.

According to Rennovia’s co-founder Tom Boussie, in a Reuters interview, the company will focus on making chemicals, not fuels as “margins are higher, volumes are lower and the capital barrier for the same return on investment is lower.”

I’m sure we will hear more from this company soon enough!

By the way, I listed down some of the green chemistry start-up companies that I’ve encountered so far (in no particular order). I am not sure if I should include pure-play next generation biofuel developer but maybe I should put them in another category. Let me know what you think and if there are others that I’ve missed:

6 Responses to Green chem startups to watch

  1. Brian Benenhaley 21 September, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Do you see these companies as sustainable players over the next decade or do think that the mainstream companies are going to move into these fields and push them out?

  2. Doris 22 September, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Right now, it seems that these companies are willing to have a joint venture with bigger chemical players but I guess if the price is right and their technologies are really working, then down the road, acquisitions are big possibilities. Still, it seems to me that the green chemistry field is so young that it will take more than a decade to transform some of the traditional chemical processing into the biotechnology route.

  3. Green Underworld Reporter 22 September, 2009 at 10:55 am #


    Many thanks for getting this rolling.

    I’m wondering what kind of company should be on this list. It is a complicated question.

    A lot of companies are hedging their strategy statements by appending ‘chemicals’ to ‘renewable fuels.’ OPX entered the marketplace with a biofuel message and now presents a chemical strategy. Joule Biotechnologies has registered trademarks for both ‘SOLARDIESEL’ and ‘SOLARCHEMICAL.’ It is a trend that will produce more examples as hard times hobble more biofuel start-ups.

    Without knowledge of a given company’s inner workings, the best that can be done is to take them at their word – with a recommended dosage of grains of salt. But generally, the more the merrier, I think, when it comes to a list like this.

    So who would I add?

    Why not include Metabolix and NatureWorks?

    I would put Synthetic Genomics and Codexis on the list, too.

    LS9 and GlycosBio also based on what is already here.

    The DSM/Roquette venture Succinium is comparable to BioAmber.

    And of course, there are ventures outside of NAFTA and Europe. Eventually the best of Japan, China, India, Brazil et al. should be represented as well.

    So there is a lot of work to do! I’ll do my best to be helpful.


  4. Green Underworld Reporter 11 December, 2009 at 10:15 am #


    A substantial effort in this area, where it overlaps with energy, efficiency, or carbon solutions is the NREL/DOE wiki. Check it out!


  5. John Stewart 11 January, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    I would also add the chemical biotech company Allylix to your list.

  6. Doris de Guzman 16 April, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanks John. I will definitely check them out!

    Best Regards,

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