VERENIUM IS THE FIRST PUBLIC COMPANY WITH THE INTEGRATED, END-TO-END CAPABILITIES TO MAKE CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS A COMMERCIAL REALITY
Diversa Corporation and Celunol Corp. announced today that they have completed their previously-announced merger transaction to create a new leader in the global biofuels industry. The combined company, which has been renamed Verenium Corporation (Nasdaq: VRNM), possesses a growing portfolio of specialty enzyme products and unique technical and operational capabilities designed to enable the production of low-cost, biomass-derived sugars for a multitude of major industrial applications. The most significant near-term commercial opportunity for Verenium will be the large-scale commercial production of cellulosic ethanol derived from multiple biomass feedstocks.
"Verenium is now positioned to be a vertically-integrated leader in the rapidly-evolving worldwide biofuels industry through the unique combination of assets, technologies, and personnel resulting from this merger. We believe that commercial success in this industry requires broad R&D capabilities and asset development expertise, which we have now brought together within one, highly-focused company, Verenium Corporation," said Carlos A. Riva, President and Chief Executive Officer of Verenium.
Verenium has made significant advances in the production of cellulosic ethanol over the past several years, greatly improving the likelihood that it will become a commercial reality in the very near future. In particular, they are using proprietary and unique micro-organisms, called ethanologens, to ferment cellulose and hemicellulose from multiple feedstocks into ethanol.
Verenium recently completed a significant upgrade of one of the nation's first operational cellulosic ethanol pilot facilities located in Jennings, Louisiana and expects to achieve mechanical completion of a 1.4 million gallon-per-year, demonstration-scale facility to produce cellulosic ethanol by the end of 2007. In addition, the Company's process technology has been licensed by Tokyo-based Marubeni Corp. and Tsukishima Kikai Co., LTD and has been incorporated into BioEthanol Japan's 1.4 million liter-per-year cellulosic ethanol plant in Osaka, Japan -- the world's first commercial-scale plant to produce cellulosic ethanol from wood construction waste. A second phase, planned for completion in 2008, will increase production to 4 million liters per year.
The Jennings pilot facility is capable of processing approximately two tons of biomass per day into ethanol. It is operated as an R&D facility to improve the company’s process technology and to validate the company’s process on a wide variety of biomass feedstocks.
The nations first demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol facility is located adjacent to its pilot facility. It is designated to operate on diverse regional feedstocks including sugarcane bagasse and specially-bred energy cane with its purpose being to reduce scale-up risk and provide validation of cost models for Verenium’s first generation of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities, which are slated for completion by 2010.
Verenium begins operations with numerous unique attributes, including: -- Fully-integrated, end-to-end capabilities in pre-treatment, novel enzyme development, fermentation, engineering, and project development; -- One of the only operational cellulosic ethanol pilot plants in the United States; -- A 1.4 million gallon-per-year demonstration-scale facility, currently under construction, to produce cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and specially-bred energy cane; -- A diverse and growing portfolio of commercialized industrial enzyme products; and -- Over 300 issued or in-licensed patents for its technologies and processes, as well as over 450 pending patents.
Verenium is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has research and operations facilities in San Diego, California; Jennings, Louisiana; and Gainesville, Florida. Due to the complementary nature of the two companies and the level of development activities being pursued, the company anticipates increasing its staff in Cambridge and Jennings, as well as building additional staff over time in San Diego to support the growth of the enzyme business and research and development efforts of the Company.
Although their plants are relatively small, here is proof again that cellulosic ethanol is real, with commercial scale plants scheduled for completion by 2010.