Raizen, Dow trail in Transformative Technologies 2011; Monsanto, OriginOil, OPX Bio reach for upsets

August 16, 2011 |

In Florida, #3 seed Raizen was in early trouble with voters in the first round of the 2011 Transformative Technologies tournament, with 14th seeded Abengoa Bioenergy taking 55 percent of the votes in first day polling. The first-round of the tournament pits the hottest biotechnologies of 64 organizations against each other, in 32 head-to-head contests which Biofuels Digest subscribers will vote on all week.

The Raizen-Abengoa match was one of two “Goliath vs Goliath” first round match-ups.  In the other, #7 seed Waste Management has taken 63 percent of the votes over #10 seed Dow Chemical in the Central regional.

Overall, a number of hot technologies are performing well against better-known brands. In the KiOR vs Butamax first round match, KiOR was expected to win handily after completing a celebrated IPO this summer – but KiOR, a Khosla-backed catalytic pyrolysis developer, is only polling 53 percent at this stage against the BP-Dupont biobutanol JV, too early and too close to call.

In another tight match in the West Regional, #6 seed Genencor is locked in a battle royal with #11 seed OriginOil, with Genencor taking a slight lead at this stage with 52 percent of the votes. However, OriginOil is known for its “get out the vote” activity with its fans amongst the Biofuels Digest readership, and it would not be surprising to see OriginOil take the lead at some stage during the week.

Among key “#8 vs #9” seed match-ups, DSM and Neste Oil are tied, with 50 percent each of the vote, while INEOS Bio is pulling down 59 percent of the votes in its match-up with Dynamic Fuels, the JV of Tyson Foods and Syntroleum.

Four major synthetic biology organizations were competing in first round matches that were billed the “SynthBio blow-out”. In the first, Ceres has taken a commending 58-42 lead over Synthetic Genomics, while Sapphire Energy is quickly outpacing Mendel Biotechnologies (the latter just now coming out of a low-profile mode) by a 67-33 margin.

In a “David vs Goliath” match-up, Algenol and Monsanto are locked in a tight contest, which Monsanto currently leads 56-44 percent. In another, Joule Unlimited currently leads Dupont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol by a 58-42 margin.

The surprise of the day’s voting is Raizen – the joint venture of Shell and Cosan which includes Shell’s holdings in Codexis and Iogen. The $10B Brazilian giant was expected to steamroll opponents in the early rounds, but has run into stiff opposition from Abengoa Bioenergy, which is moving along in its plans to build a small commercial cellulosic ethanol plant in Kansas by 2013.

The first-round voting will continue until 5pm ET on Friday, August 19th. Winners will meet up in 16 second round match-ups, with subscribers voting between August 22 and August 26th. The Sweet Sixteen round, quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals will take place in September.


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