Shell and Codexis deepen collaboration to speed arrival of next generation biofuel
Royal Dutch Shell plc and Codexis, Inc. today announced an expanded agreement to develop better enzymes that could accelerate commercialisation of next generation biofuels. Shell also increased its equity stake in Codexis and will take an additional seat on the company’s board.
As part of the agreement, Codexis will work closely with Shell and Iogen Energy Corporation to enhance the efficiency of enzymes used in the Iogen cellulosic ethanol production process. The world-leading Iogen demonstration plant in Ottawa, Canada currently produces hundreds of thousands of litres of cellulosic ethanol from agricultural residue, such as wheat straw.
The research programme with Codexis aims to enhance the Iogen process and shorten the timeline to its full-scale commercial deployment. Iogen’s technology uses enzymes to break down the cellulose in agricultural fibre and convert it to sugars, which are then fermented and distilled into ethanol.
The new Shell-Codexis deal also continues the collaboration announced in November 2007 to investigate other biofuels, researching new enzymes to convert biomass directly into components similar to gasoline and diesel. Codexis will expand research at a centre in the US and at a new centre in Budapest, Hungary.
“The expert Codexis team will make a real difference in the race toward full-scale commercial production of biofuel from non-food sources,” said Graeme Sweeney, Shell Executive Vice President, Future Fuels and CO2. “Better enzymes will improve efficiency and help lower costs.”
“In just over two years, our biofuels collaboration with Shell has grown from a pilot project to a significant multifaceted programme to create commercial-scale biofuels from non-food sources,” said Alan Shaw, Ph.D, Codexis President and CEO. “Codexis has complemented its advanced directed evolution platform with world class technologies ranging from systems biology to large scale enzyme production. We are very pleased to attract such significant private equity investment.”
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