Ceres: Biofuels Digest’s 5-Minute Guide

November 6, 2012 |

Address:

1535 Rancho Conejo Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91320

Founded:
1996

Annual Revenues:
$6.6 million (Fiscal Year ended Aug. 31, 2011)

Type of technology:
Plant biotechnology, gene marker-assisted breeding and other genomics

Fuel Type:
Biomass is the common denominator to advanced biofuels, biopower and bioproducts and is independent of the end-fuel molecule.

Major investors:
Ceres is a public company. Its common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol CERE. Pre-IPO investors include Warburg Pincus, Soros Private Equity Partners, GIMV and Oppenheimer.

Past milestones:
Completed IPO in February 2012.

Demonstrated at commercial-scale that sweet sorghum could be used as a season-extending feedstock for Brazil’s 400+ ethanol mills.

The company’s 2nd-generation of sweet sorghum hybrids significantly outperformed its initial products during the 2011-2012 growing season in Brazil.

The Brazilian government’s agricultural research corporation, Embrapa, selected Ceres to evaluate its leading sweet sorghum variety for use in ethanol production.

The company’s high-biomass and stress tolerance traits have demonstrated biomass yield increases of ~50% under non-irrigated conditions.

Ceres and a research collaborator in the U.K. completed the first high-resolution genetic map of miscanthus. This milestone is expected to speed development of economically viable seeded miscanthus varieties.

Established world’s largest energy grass trialing network

Future milestones:
Ongoing commercial sales and scale-up in pace with bioenergy industry in Brazil, Europe and the United States.

Ceres Traits to Watch
Enhanced conversion: Substantial reductions in the cellulase enzyme cocktails required to release fermentable sugars from plant biomass.  This trait could be a key enabler of the large-scale use of biochemical processes and fermentation

High-biomass, low-input traits:  High yields and greater yield stability on low-rent, marginal land. Feedstock is 50-70% of operating costs, and land rents can be a significant cost component. These traits could provide a major lever against cost and enable larger volumes/facilities.

Business model:
Seed sales and trait licenses

Competitive edge:
Genetics, intellectual property, early-mover advantage

Distribution, research, marketing or production partnerships or alliances.
R&D: Texas A&M (leading sorghum genetics), Samuel Noble Foundation (Switchgrass genetics) and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences Institute of Aberystwyth University in the U.K. (Miscanthus genetics).

Development stage: Commercial

Company website
Also BladeEnergy.com

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Category: 5-Minute Guide

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