Cobalt, Rhodia to develop Brazilian biobutanol demonstration facility


Bio-based chemicals developer Cobalt Technologies and specialty chemical company Rhodia have joined forces to jointly develop and operate a biobutanol demonstration facility in Brazil.

"As part of the term sheet, the companies will evaluate Cobalt's technology and its ability to integrate with existing sugar mills in Brazil."

The demonstration plant will use Cobalt's technology to convert Brazilian bagasse and other local non-food feedstock into bio n-butanol in Latin America.

As part of the term sheet, the companies will evaluate Cobalt's technology and its ability to integrate with existing sugar mills in Brazil.

Bob Mayer, Cobalt Technologies CEO, said the agreement puts them on a clear path towards commercialisation which will result in the development of the first commercial-scale biorefinery using bagasse as a feedstock for production of biobutanol.

"Our corporate values and goals are aligned and Rhodia's experience in the global chemical markets and long history of success in Latin America position us well for success," Mayer added.

Vincent Kamel, Rhodia Coatis business unit president, said Rhodia Coatis is convinced that Cobalt's technology will provide cost advantages over the long term, while also enhancing the company's sustainable development strategy related to its Augeo range of biosourced solvents.

"We look forward to our continued partnership, working closely with Cobalt to capitalise on the massive market opportunity for bio n-butanol in Latin American and beyond," Kamel added.

The construction work on the proposed facility will begin in August 2012 and the plant is expected to become operational by mid-2013.

Butanol is used as an industrial chemical found in paints, adhesives, inks and other solvents.