Shell, Cargill, Others Pony Up $46 Million for Sugar Gasoline

Shell, Cargill, Others Pony Up $46 Million for Sugar Gasoline

Investment funding goes beyond Virent's dreams.

Wisconsin's Virent Energy Systems, Inc., says it has closed third-round investment activities to scale up its sugar-to-gasoline biorefinery to commercial production volumes.

The main stakeholders in Virent's patented catalytic process to use plant sugars to produce gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel are Royal Dutch Shell and Cargill. The move will put a Shell representative on Virent's board of directors, and the latest round of funding also involved all of previous stakeholders.

The financing follows March's announcement from Virent which noted the successful start-up of the first biogasoline production plant -- capable of producing 10,000 gallons of premium biogasoline per year. That milestone was the springboard for the latest investment offering to take the process to a commercial level. Shell has hinted at 100 million gallons per year production from the process.

Luis Scoffone, vice president of Alternative Energies at Shell, says "This investment demosntrate's Shell's confidence in Virtent's catalytic biofuel production processes." Also, with the latest round of funding, Shell is starting research into the use of the process to make diesel fuel, he said.

Gasoline and other fuels made from Virent's process is chemically the same as current petroleum-based fuels, and can be introduced into distribution systems (tanks, pipelines, pumps) with no modifications or blend requirements such as is found with fuel alcohols.

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