Virent Energy Systems Inc. and CleanTech have won a grant as part of a joint renewable energy program funded by the US and Israel.
The project represents a combinative effort by the United States Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, and the Bi-national Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. All of which are joining to provide $900,000 of funding, which constitutes almost half of the overall project’s cost.
Tackling attitudes
The project’s primary objective is to address the key hurdles which currently impede market acceptance of bio-fuels and bio-products made from cellulosic feedstocks. In particular these obstacles include price, performance and infrastructure compatibility.

The project hopes to meet these demands using combinative technologies. HCL CLeanTech is bringing its proprietary lignocellulosic conversion technology which produces value for money non-food sugars. Meanwhile, Virent is set to utilise its innovative BioForming® technology that converts plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules.
The sugars produced by HCL CleanTech may then be used as chemicals or blended to make premium ‘drop-in’ fuels for car, truck, train and air transportation.

Key to the bio-fuels sector

Lee Edwards, CEO of Virent, commented, “Economically converting plentiful cellulosic biomass into renewable, fungible hydrocarbon fuels and products will enable broad market acceptance and is the most realistic alternative to displace petroleum and create a clean energy transportation sector in the coming years.”

Edwards continued, “Virent has proven it can transform cellulosic, non-food sugars into environmentally superior hydrocarbon fuels with the same energy content and performance as petroleum fuels. Utilising HCL CleanTech’s cost-effective biomass hydrolysis technology to provide inexpensive cellulosic sugar feedstocks may be a key component of a complete and sustainable biofuels solution.”

Eran Baniel, CEO of HCL CleanTech, outlined the importance of this advance for the bio-fuels sector. He remarked, “We expect to have the sugars ready for Virent before the New Year and are confident the integration with Virent and the leading biopolymer producer will create new opportunities in the bio-fuels and bio-products space.”