I received several inquiries today regarding the rumor that came out from Biofuel Digest this morning that San Francisco-based LS9 was possibly closing down with staff going to being laid off.
|Tjerk De Ruiter|
Unfortunately, I was traveling throughout the day and unable to contact LS9 until this afternoon when I saw the company’s recent press release about the appointment of their new CEO Tjerk de Ruiter, as Ed Dineen steps down to remain as member of LS9’s board of directors.
Tjerk de Ruiter joined LS9 as chairman of the board in August last year. He was also former CEO of Genencor (remember their development of bio-isoprene?). According to the press release, LS9 continues to have a strong support of their investors, and that the company is now poised to advance their technology platform. LS9’s investors include Flagship Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Chevron Technology Ventures and Blackrock.
Ed Dineen also confirmed via email that the Biofuel Digest article released this morning was not true and that “it contains many errors.” The said article has been updated since then noting the appointment news of De Ruiter.
As of today, the blog is waiting for a possible interview with the new CEO and hoping to get updates on LS9’s activities.
The company is actually doing pretty good since last year as it successfully started-up its fatty alcohol production in LS9’s 135,000 liter-scale demonstration facility in Okeechobee, Florida.
LS9 said back then that the fatty alcohols produced will be for testing and product qualification by key partners (one of them is Procter & Gamble) and prospective customers. Back in February last year when LS9 was courting more investors at the annual Jefferies Global Clean Technology conference in New York City, the company is looking to build a brownfield 10,000-25,000 tonnes/year facility initially in Brazil to produce sugarcane-based chemicals.
I am hoping to be invited again at the Jefferies Clean Tech conference and maybe get a clear direction of where LS9 is now as well as updates from other biobased chemicals/advanced biofuels companies.