June 8, 2012

Is Shell still interested in cellulosic ethanol?

On Codexis' 8-K filing today, the company said its cellulosic ethanol research collaboration between Iogen and Shell will now be terminated effective June 30, 2012. 

The question here is Shell's commitment in cellulosic ethanol, and if Codexis will still have Shell for its research collaboration partner after this news.

Shell dropped Iogen as its cellulosic ethanol partner in April as the companies noted that Iogen is said to be refocusing its strategies and activities.This results in shelving the companies' plans to build an industrial scale cellulosic ethanol in Manitoba, Canada. Codexis has been collaborating with the Shell-Iogen deal on developing the technology relating to conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol.
According to Codexis, its research collaboration deal with Shell under the Raizen-Shell biofuel JV is still ongoing although investors fear that Shell might also pull out of this one given that the Codexis-Shell research pact expires at the end of October.
Raizen currently holds 16% stake in Codexis.
The only advanced biofuel research collaboration that Shell has right  now aside from Codexis is US-based Virent, where the companies are looking to develop biomass-based gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.
Codexis, by the way, recently hired its new CEO John J. Nicols, formerly senior vice president, strategic development and catalysts at Albemarle. It will be up to Mr. Nicols now to see if he can persuade Shell to continue investing research in cellulosic ethanol.
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