The 50 Most Visible Companies in the Advanced Bioeconomy 2014: #40-#31

June 12, 2014 |

visible-50Product launches, project start-ups, scale-up stumbles, litigation, feedstock controversy, name investors coming on board — they all add up to one thing: visibility.

And if you’re among those who believe “I don’t care what you write, just spell my name right” — here’s the ultimate visibility ranking.

The Digest’s 50 Most Visible Companies in the Bioeconomy.

Over the past two years, more than one million unique visitors have crowded the Digest’s site for news, gossip, profiles, analysis and data, data, data. Millions of page views later — we looked at which companies are the “hottest reads” in the sector — and why can’t we stop thinking about them.

Based on accumulated pageviews (as reported by Google Analytics), here’s our ranking 50 Most Visible Companies in the Bioeconomy, and some background on the companies in the rankings.

The Complete Rankings

Rankings from #50-#41

Rankings from #40-#31

Rankings from #30-#21

Rankings from #20-#11

Rankings from #10-#1



Notes: The exit from cellulosic biofuels and detergent alcohols attracted much attention — eyes on on Codexis’ next move, which is rumored to be imminent and inspiring.

The latest:  In California, Codexis signaled the end of its cellulase enzyme adventure in cellulosic biofuels with the wind-down of its CodeXyme business. CEO John Nicols said, “Given the market’s undervaluation of the prospects and continued slow build out of cellulosic ethanol facilities, we have not been able to secure a suitable partnership or transaction for our CodeXyme cellulase enzyme business. Accordingly, we have begun today to immediately wind down our CodeXyme franchise, after having already stopped further development of our CodeXol detergent alcohols franchise earlier in the year.



Notes: As with Fulcrum, quiet year so far for the wood-to-fuels pioneers — awaiting closing of financing for the first commercial. Kept themselves busy with contract fermentation runs at their demo facility in Boardman, Oregon.

The latest:  In Oregon, ZeaChem announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed the successful registration of ZeaChem’s demonstration biorefinery in Boardman, Ore., to generate cellulosic biofuel RINs. The EPA Fuels Programs Registered Company/Facility ID List has been updated accordingly with ZeaChem’s biorefinery verified as an approved registered facility for the production of Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) qualifying D3 cellulosic biofuel RINs.

The 5-Minute Guide to ZeaChem


Cobalt Technologies

Notes: Not as noisy a year for Cobalt — moving towards a first commercial now, likely in Brazil.

The latest: In Colorado, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is partnering with Cobalt Technologies, U.S. Navy, and Show Me Energy Cooperative to demonstrate that jet fuel can be made economically and in large quantities from a renewable biomass feedstock such as switchgrass. NREL’s pretreatment reactor and enzymatic digester reactors will process switchgrass into fermentable sugars. NREL’s 9,000-liter fermenters will then produce butanol from the sugars using Cobalt Technologies’ proprietary microorganisms and fermentation process.

The 5-Minute Guide to Cobalt Technologies


Fulcrum Bioenergy

Notes: Quiet year so far for the waste-to-fuels pioneers — awaiting closing of financing for the first commercial.

The latest: In North Carolina, Fulcrum BioEnergy has successfully demonstrated the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) into jet and diesel fuels.This demonstrated process adds fuel diversity to Fulcrum’s products and complements its previously demonstrated MSW to ethanol process. Fulcrum’s ability to produce drop-in fuels from MSW opens up an 80 billion gallon-per-year fuel market and expands its customer base for its national development program.

The 5-Minute Guide to Fulcrum BioEnergy



Notes: It’s been a huge financial year for Aemetis, which has recorded major gains in revenue and profit on favorable crush spreads and high efficiency driving throughput in ethanol production.

The latest: In California, Aemetis announced that its 50 million gallon per year capacity biodiesel and refined glycerin production facility in Kakinada, India has been upgraded to produce high-quality distilled biodiesel. The Aemetis plant was built in 2008 using advanced technology to produce biodiesel and refined glycerin using large volumes of lower-cost, non-food by-products from the edible oil industry as feedstock to supply the biofuel, pharmaceutical, and industrial markets.



Notes: Ready for scale now in Brazil, all eyes are on the Raizen cellulosic biofuels project using Iogen technology.

The latest: In Canada, Iogen Corporation announced it has developed and patented a new method to make drop-in cellulosic biofuels from biogas using existing refinery assets and production operations.

The company estimates there is refining capacity in place to incorporate 5-6 billion gallons per year of renewable hydrogen content into gasoline and diesel fuel. Iogen will initially commercialize the approach using landfill biogas, and then expand production using biogas made in the cellulosic ethanol facilities it is currently developing.

The 5-Minute Guide to Iogen




Notes: Huge capital raise announced in Malaysia attracted President Obama to the signing, and a whole lot of happily shocked industry eyeballs.

The latest: In Malaysia, Verdezyne negotiated key terms for an investment of $48 million led by Malaysian multinational conglomerate, Sime Darby Berhad. This $48 financing for Verdezyne was joined by existing investors BP Alternative Energy Ventures, DSM Venturing B.V., OVP Venture Partners, and Monitor Ventures. Individually, Sime Darby was reported to invest $30 million in return for a 30 percent stake in the company, which would give Verdezyne a valuation of $100 million

The 5-Minute Guide to Verdezyne



Notes: Big offtake deals, moving beyond biosuccinic — been a steady diet of news for BioAmber, keeping the brand visible and the stock relatively buoyant.

The latest: In Minneapolis, BioAmber just announced a contract to supply a minimum of 80% of PTTMCC Biochem’s total bio-succinic acid needs until the end of 2017.

PTTMCC Biochem is a joint venture established by Mitsubishi Chemical and PTT, Thailand’s largest oil and gas company, to produce and sell polybutylene succinate (PBS), a biodegradable plastic made from succinic acid and 1,4 butanediol (BDO). The JV partners are building a PBS plant in Map Ta Phut, Rayong, Thailand that will have an annual production capacity of 20,000 tons, and is expected to be operational in the first half of 2015.

The 5-Minute Guide to BioAmber


Abengoa Bioenergy

Notes: All eyes are on Hugoton and the company’s commercial-scale cellulosic biofuels plant in Kansas.

The latest: In France, Deinove announced a 36-month collaboration agreement with Abengoa, with the support of Bpifrance, to develop at industrial scale DEINOVE’s consolidated bioprocess (CBP) using Deinococcus bacterium, to digest and convert agricultural residues to ethanol at a competitive cost. Performances obtained with substrates supplied to Deinove by Abengoa will be evaluated in order to set up a process that can be implemented, subject to adequate performance, in full-size factories.

The 5-Minute Guide to Abengoa Bioenergy


Joule Unlimited

Notes: Almost back to stealth have the Joule gang gone, excepting a recent annoucne that its fuels have met ASTM spec.

The latest: In Washington, Joule announced at the World Congress that its Sunflow-D and Sunflow-J products meet the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials for diesel and jet fuel, respectively. Joule products achieve all accepted standards for fuel performance, and they may also improve quality of the finished fuel blends, as demonstrated by the test results. ASTM test regimes address a number of critical fuel requirements, such as performance (e.g. cetane or octane, aromaticity, viscosity, etc.), engine wear, transportability and post-combustion air quality.

The 5-Minute Guide to Joule Unlimited

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