January 30, 2013

LS9 looks for commercialization partnership

I had the pleasure of briefly speaking to LS9's new CEO Tjerk de Ruiter this week and I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered this newbie "green" reporter back in 2008 when I interviewed him about Genencor's bio-isoprene and biofuel projects.

If readers recall last week, the blog posted about LS9's announcement of De Ruiter's appointment as the company's new CEO after Ed Dineen stepped down to remain as member of LS9s board of directors. De Ruiter joined LS9 as chairman of the board in August last year. His resume included being the last CEO of biotechnology company Genencor before DuPont bought Genencor's parent company Danisco for $6.3bn in 2011.

There was a speculation brought last week about the possibility of LS9 closing with rumors of staff layoffs. The company assured that this isn't the case although De Ruiter did admit that getting financing is indeed difficult for most start-up renewable chemical companies looking to take the next commercialization step.

Developing next-generation chemicals takes time to achieve, he said, and many investors are too impatient. However, De Ruiter believes that the company's genetically-modified e.coli is now ready for   its microscopic close-up as according to him, yield goals for producing sugar-based fatty alcohol and fatty acid methyl ester (popularly known as biodiesel) have been achieved in the LS9's demonstration plant in Okeechobee, Florida.

LS9 Okeechobee, Florida facility

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