Converting sugar cane waste (bagasse) to cellulosic bioethanol
11 April 2013, Guildford (UK). TMO Renewables (TMO), the leading British developer of second generation biofuels technology, and Usina Santa Maria Ltda have entered into an agreement to form a joint venture to build the first commercial production plant in Brazil to convert sugar cane waste (bagasse) to cellulosic bioethanol.
TMO has signed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Usina Santa Maria Ltda to build Brazil's first Second Generation bioethanol production facility in Săo Paulo state. Under the MOU, TMO in joint venture with Usina Santa Maria Ltda will build, own and operate a 10 million litre Second Generation ethanol pilot plant to convert bagasse to cellulosic bioethanol. This will be followed by the construction of full-scale industrial plant. The plant will be located alongside a sugar mill owned by Usina Santa Maria at Cerquilho (Săo Paulo state). The plant is scheduled to go into production in 2014. The bioethanol will primarily be used to power Flex-Fuel vehicles in the domestic market.
TMO worked with the support of BB2E, a British company that assists the development and commercialisation of British technology, who have helped to build what has become a strong relationship between TMO and the owners of Usina Santa Maria.
TMO entered into negotiation with Usina Santa Maria in September 2012 when it formed part of a UK business delegation to Brazil led by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
Commenting on today's announcement of the TMO / Usina Santa Maria Ltda joint venture, Prime Minister David Cameron, said: "This is a great example of how British businesses can profit from our trade missions and succeed in fast growing markets.
"This exciting new venture is testament to British expertise in pioneering technologies, such as biofuels. And with over 150 new British jobs in the pipeline, it shows how by doing more abroad we can reap the benefits back at home."
David Weaver, Chief Executive of TMO, said: "Of the world's largest economies, Brazil has made the move to encourage flex engine cars that can run on 100% ethanol. Through 10 years of research and development TMO has created a market-leading process to convert waste to biofuels. We will now prove the effectiveness of our process by building the first plants of their kind to convert waste-to-ethanol at commercial volume."
The joint venture is a new milestone in the transformation of TMO from a research-based entity to a fully-commercialised company under the stewardship of Mr Weaver, who joined TMO in May 2012. The agreement will create jobs in Brazil and the UK.
José Pilon, Director and President of the Usina Santa Maria, said: "Our friends and partners, particularly Mr. Edson Patto on our side and Rodolpho Koch, Theo Chapman and James Buchan from BB2E, have been fundamental in developing this opportunity into a contract. I believe this is a milestone for ethanol industry and I feel honored and privileged to be a part of this moment. We hope TMO feels the same and we look forward to new opportunities."
Brazil is the second largest producing nation of First Generation ethanol with a rapidly-developing demand for ethanol to replace hydrocarbon fuels. In September 2012, TMO signed a Letter of Intent to secure long-term supply of feedstock. The MOU signed today guarantees a 20-year supply of feedstock as part of the joint venture to build the pilot plant.
Brazil is also the world's leading market for ethanol fuels. According to two separate research studies conducted in 2009, 65% of Flex-Fuel registered vehicles regularly use ethanol fuel. In Săo Paulo, usage climbs to 93% of flex car owners.
TMO provides value-added integrated solutions to the challenges of waste management, converting low value waste into high demand, high value energy products.
TMO stands for ‘thermophilic (heat-loving) microorganism', the bacterial ethanologen at the core of the proprietary TMO Process. The microorganism efficiently converts carbohydrates into ethanol from a wide range of non-food feedstocks at high temperatures. The TMO process exploits these properties to make ethanol in a way that lowers many of the economic barriers that have previously restricted the development of cellulosic ethanol production.
About Usina Santa Maria
Usina Santa Maria Ltda, Cerquilho is an associate mill of Copersucar, the largest Brazilian commercial organisation for the integrated production and trade of sugar and ethanol. Santa Maria started producing sugar in 1954, and ethanol in 1974.
Mr. José Pilon, Director and President of Usina Santa Maria, is an active entrepreneur and has been responsible for many improvements in Brazilian economy over the last 30 years, either as State Secretary for Agriculture and Supply or President and Advisor of several Associations for the Sugar Cane Industry. He was involved in addition of 25% ethanol to gasoline, which is now being approved in many countries. He is also involved in the development of engines that run on ethanol instead of diesel.
BB2E is a British company that assists in the development and commercialisation of British technology. The management of BB2E has considerable experience both in Latin America and Europe, as well as having a track record in investing in companies and developing businesses across a wide portfolio of industries.