Iogen: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

March 9, 2015 |

5-Minute-Guide-logoIogen says it has has “one of the world’s largest and most experienced teams in developing, designing, de-bugging, scaling-up and deploying cellulosic biofuel technology. We’re using innovative thinking and disciplined engineering to transform cellulosic biofuels into real, reliable and cost-effective fuels for today’s cars and trucks.”

The first commercial cellulosic ethanol facility based on Iogen technology was built in Brazil by Raízen, a $30 billion Brazilian energy company, and started its commissioning process last fall (2014) after completion of construction.


50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: 2013/14, #48


Cellulosic ethanol production


Owner-operator and technology licensor.

The Situation

In December 2014, Iogen and Raizen announced they have begun production of cellulosic ethanol on schedule at Raizen’s newly expanded Costa Pinto sugar cane mill in Piracicaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Raizen broke ground on the $100 million “biomass-to-ethanol” expansion just over one year ago. The new facility will convert biomass such as sugar cane bagasse and straw into 40 million litres per year of advanced, second generation cellulosic biofuel.

It is also the first large-scale commercial implementation of Iogen Energy’s cellulosic ethanol technology, which the company developed and has extensively proven in its Ottawa demonstration facility.

Past milestones:

In January 2014, Iogen Corporation announced that 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 production method involves processing biogas to make renewable hydrogen and incorporating the renewable hydrogen into finished fuels in selected refinery hydrogenating units. The company says it is planning to use the technology in association with two large-scale US cellulosic ethanol plants it is developing, resulting in increased overall cellulosic biofuel yields per unit of feedstock, lower unit capital costs, and lower water usage per unit of biofuel production.

In December 2013, Raizen broke ground on a commercial cellulosic ethanol plant using Iogen Energy technology, which represents more than a year of cooperation between Raizen and Iogen. The $100m plant, to be located adjacent to a sugar cane mill in Sao Paulo, will produce 10 mmgy per year. The plant was expected to start production by the 4th quarter of 2014.

In February 2013, Novozymes acquired Iogen Bio-Products, for a purchase price of $67.45 million and potential earn-out payments up to $12.5 million. The deal provides Novozymes with all commercial rights to Iogen Bio-Products’ existing product portfolio, pipeline, facilities and know-how. Iogen Bio-Products, which entered the industrial enzyme industry in 1991, produces and sells enzymes for the pulp & paper, textile, grain-processing and animal feed industries. The company has close to 70 employees and sells more than 20 products globally. The Novozymes acquisition does not include the purchase of assets that relate to Iogen Corporation’s second generation biofuels business. Closing of the acquisition is anticipated late February 2013, awaiting finalization of corporate formalities.

In October 2012, Raízen Group and Iogen Energy announced that Raízen has committed an initial investment to develop a commercial cellulosic ethanol project in Brazil with Iogen. The investment, the first step toward the commercialization of cellulosic biofuels technology in Brazil, will cover development and engineering costs associated with the front end design of a biomass-to-ethanol facility to be co-located with Raízen’s Costa Pinto facility in Piracicaba, São Paulo. The deal comes after Raízen conducted a thorough review of cellulosic technologies and concluded that Iogen is the company with the most advanced technology ready for commercialization at Raízen’s sugar cane ethanol facilities.

In May 2012, Shell was canceling a long-contemplated cellulosic ethanol venture in Canada. The writing had first appeared on the wall in 2010. That year, Shell “announced a further investment in Iogen Energy, for the purpose of accelerating the commercial deployment of Iogen Energy’s process for making cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residue. As part of the ongoing joint development agreement between Shell, Iogen Corporation and Iogen Energy, Shell made a significant incremental commitment to fund research and development activities at Iogen Energy until mid-2012.”

In 2009, a Shell station in Ottawa became the first in the country to serve cars with cellulosic ethanol, offering a 10 percent blend of gasoline and wheat straw ethanol manufactured at a demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol plan jointly owned by Shell and Iogen. A representative of the joint venture said that a decision on expansion would be reached within 12 months, and did not rule out the possibility of constructing a commercial-scale facility in Idaho, where the company abandoned an effort to build a demonstration-scale plant. Iogen announced that it had commenced shipments of a 47,000 gallon cellulosic ethanol order from venture partner Royal Dutch Shell. The companies first partnered in cellulosic ethanol in 2002 when Shell invested in Iogen. Shell subsequently increased its ownership stake in Iogen’s technology to 50 percent in 2007.

Future milestones

Opening of future commefial plants. Raizen has spoken in terms of 1 billion liters in capacity by the end of the decade.


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