Flame On: Green Biologics heats up, acquires GreenFlame and heads for market expansion

January 31, 2017 |

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You know, GreenFlame just sounds like a character out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – a cross between the Green Lantern and the Fantastic Four. And it sets up nicely for a catchphrase for the entire advanced bioeconomy:

In brightest day… in blackest night,
no use of Oil shall escape my sight!
Let those who worship OPEC’s might
beware my power–GreenFlame’s light!

But there’s nothing fictional about GreenFlame. It’s a lighting fluid with a range of end uses — Obvious Use Case #1 being charcoal lighting.

And news has arrived from Virginia and the UK that Green Biologics has acquired the GreenFlame Brand, just as the Kroger grocery chain signs on to offer Green Biologics’ first high performance, bio-based product for consumers. GreenFlame is a USDA BioPreferred certified, natural, clean burning fuel with a range of potential end uses, from charcoal lighter fluid to torch & camping fuels, and food warming products. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Kroger, the largest grocery retailer by revenue in the United States, will serve as Green Biologics’ first retail partner for the GreenFlame charcoal lighter fluid. Kroger, which has stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, has set a number of sustainability and responsible sourcing goals

We reported last month that Green Biologics has commenced commercial shipments of bio-based n-butanol and acetone from its manufacturing facility in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Over the past year, Green Biologics has built a robust pipeline of domestic and export customers combined with multiple partnerships to bring its products to downstream markets. These include distribution agreements with Acme Hardesty, Nexeo Solutions, and Caldic as well as a strategic partnership with HOC Industries, a custom blender, packager and distributor of consumer and government products.

In 2016, the company converted a 21 million gallon per year corn ethanol plant,  formerly known as Central Minnesota Ethanol Cooperative, to produce butanol and acetone. More than $75 million was raised for the conversion.

The GreenFlame backstory

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 6.16.30 AMGreenFlame combines a natural formula with equivalent performance to traditional petroleum-based products. The acquisition of this patented technology supports Green Biologics’ strategy to utilize its 100 percent bio-based specialty chemicals platform to develop performance-based formulated products for high-value consumer applications.

The cooking and camp-fuel potential of alcohol fuels has been in the news of late. Earlier this week we reported that Clean Cooking Madagascar, an NGO based in Antananarivo, Madagascar, is seeking proposals for an ethanol micro distillery  for its national Ethanol Stove Program in Madagascar. CCM plans to create a market for 100,000 ethanol cookstoves over five  years.

Meanwhile, a Candian inventor for an ethanol-based cooking stove is looking for investment partners to scale up his prototype and get it to market, as we reported earlier this month here, and we reported last March that Infosys is donating 43,000 biofuel cookstoves to 21,500 families in Karnataka’s Koppal district as part of a wider project that teams with a local NGO to provide training and awareness building to encourage uptake of the cleaner technology.

The BioPreferred backstory

Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the BioPreferred program is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. The BioPreferred program was created by the 2002 Farm Bill and reauthorized and expanded as part of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). The program’s purpose is to spur economic development, create new jobs and provide new markets for farm commodities,

The Digest’s 8-Slide Guide to the Program is here.

Reaction from the principals

“The foundation of our commercial strategy is the ability to leverage the natural aspects of our technology with demonstrated performance benefits that meet the needs of specialty markets and consumers,” said Sean Sutcliffe, CEO of Green Biologics.

“We believe there is a growing demand amongst consumers for natural products that perform equal to or better than the traditional technology,” said David Anderson, Global Vice President of Marketing for Green Biologics.

The Bottom Line

It’s a hot development. Flame On!

More on the story.

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