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Jet fuel from cellulosic sugars pass tests

Mar. 27, 2012 - Virent and Virdia, formerly HCL CleanTech, announce the successful conversion of cellulosic pine tree sugars to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels within the BIRD Energy project, a joint program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure and the BIRD Foundation.


March 27, 2012
By Business Wire

Topics

Mar. 27, 2012 – Virent
and Virdia,
formerly HCL CleanTech, announce the successful conversion of cellulosic
pine tree sugars to drop-in hydrocarbon fuels within the BIRD Energy
project, a joint program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the
Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructure and the BIRD Foundation. The
project, which commenced in January 2011, successfully demonstrated that
Virdia’s deconstruction process generated high-quality sugars from
cellulosic biomass, which were converted to fuel via Virent’s
BioForming process.

Virent used Virdia’s biomass-derived sugars to produce gasoline and jet
fuel, the latter being sent to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
(AFRL) for analysis where it passed rigorous testing. Tim Edwards of the
Fuels Branch of the AFRL said, “This fuel passed the most stringent
specification tests we could throw at it (such as thermal stability)
under some conditions where conventional jet fuels would fail. This fuel
is definitely worth further evaluation.”

“While Virent’s BioForming process has previously generated
fuels and chemicals from sugars in cellulosic biomass,” said Virent
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Randy Cortright, “The
high-quality sugars generated from pine trees using Virdia’s process
leveraged Virent’s conversion process, establishing a viable route to
drop-in hydrocarbons from biomass.”

“Passing the AFRL’s arduous test requirements for jet fuel further
substantiates the superior value proposition of the advanced
carbohydrates that Virdia is introducing,” said Philippe Lavielle,
Virdia CEO. “As demonstrated by the BIRD Energy project results,
Virdia’s CASE (Cold Acid Solvent Extraction) process can deliver the
high-purity, cost-effective cellulosic sugars needed as the primary raw
material for jet fuels and other applications. We are pleased to work
with Virent to prove that the value of cellulosic biomass can be
unlocked.”

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Virdia’s CASE process encompasses a sequence of proprietary extraction
and separation operations. Originally developed around the Bergius
process (concentrated hydrochloric acid hydrolysis of biomass), the CASE
process achieves the highest yields in the industry, and produces high
purity fractions of sugars and lignin. Its low temperature, low pressure
hydrolysis coupled with its closed loops of acid recovery and solvent
extraction establish it as one of the most economical and
environmentally sustainable processes.

Virent’s BioForming platform utilizes a novel combination of catalytic
processes to convert water-soluble oxygenated hydrocarbons derived from
biomass to non-oxygenated hydrocarbons that can be used as drop-in
compounds in gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuel. Virent’s BioForming
platform catalysts and reactor systems are similar to those found in
today’s petroleum oil refineries and petrochemical complexes.

About Virent, Inc.

Virent is replacing crude oil by creating the chemicals and fuels the
world demands using a wide range of naturally-occurring, renewable
resources. Its patented technology features catalytic chemistry to
convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to
those made from petroleum. The products are drop-in replacements that
enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without
blending limitations or compromising on product quality. The development
of Virent’s BioForming technology platform is supported through
strategic partners including Cargill, Coca-Cola, Honda and Shell, as
well as 120 employees based in Madison, Wisconsin. Please learn more at www.Virent.com.

About Virdia

Virdia is the developer of the CASE process that converts lignocellulose
into industrial sugars and lignin from wood chips and other non-food,
cellulosic biomass to enable the growth of renewable chemicals and
second-generation biofuels. Virdia envisions that producing high
quality, competitively priced sugars and lignin from sustainable sources
of biomass will help reduce our dependence on petroleum-derived
products, reduce overall carbon emissions, and develop new manufacturing
industries in rural areas. Founded in 2007, Virdia is a privately held
company backed by top-tier venture capital firms, including Tamar
Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Burrill & Company and Triple Point Capital.
Please learn more at www.Virdia.com.

This project received funding from BIRD Energy; for more information,
please visit www.Birdf.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50215806&lang=en


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