Cargill, Virent collaborate on bio-based fuels, chemicals

TAGS: Business
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Partnership to evaluate use of Cargill’s corn dextrose as feedstock for Virent’s BioForming technology.

Bio-based fuels and chemicals play a critical role in meeting the increasing global demand for more environmentally friendly sources of energy and plastics to make clothing, electronics, packaging and building materials. To explore the production of these renewable resources, Cargill and Virent Inc. are working together to evaluate the use of Cargill’s corn dextrose as a feedstock for Virent’s BioForming technology for the production of “drop-in” low-carbon biofuels and biochemicals.

Virent’s BioForming technology uses sugars found in plants as a feedstock to produce drop-in renewable gasoline and jet fuel as well as lower-carbon biochemicals, including bio-paraxylene, a key raw material for producing 100% renewable and recyclable biopolyester. The sugars may originate from any plant source, including first-generation crops such as corn, sugarcane and sugar beets, as well as lignocellulosic materials derived from wood, corn stover, bagasse and other sources.

“We are working to scale up the BioForming process and are very pleased to announce our work with Cargill to study the availability of corn dextrose as a feedstock,” said Dave Kettner, president of Virent. “We believe U.S. corn dextrose is an attractive feedstock for our process and expect this study to demonstrate how U.S. corn dextrose can be used for broader applications to produce renewable gasoline, jet fuel and bio-based chemicals. Establishing the Virent BioForming process as a viable opportunity for producing jet fuel and renewable gasoline as a complement to ethanol will not only open new markets for corn but expand the greater opportunities for both renewable fuels and chemicals.”

Upon completion of the study, Virent will use the findings to evaluate options for scale-up and development of a first commercial plant utilizing the BioForming technology. The long-term objective is to use commercially available feedstocks today as a bridge to next-generation lignocellulosic feedstocks in the future.

“Cargill is excited to take this next step in our long-standing journey with Virent. Virent’s biochemical [research and development] expertise and Bioforming technology combined with Cargill’s global strength in carbohydrate feedstock and expertise in corn processing makes this a natural joint effort,” Cargill managing director Mike Wagner said. “Building out the bio-economy and increasing the diversification of our corn grind are both at the core of our strategy, making this an ideal project and highly compatible partnership for Cargill.”

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