Company initiatives, Feedstock, Investments

Stora Enso acquires cellulosic sugar developer Virdia

I know this is a late news but still worthwhile reporting.

Stora Enso, a Finnish pulp, paper and packaging company, has acquired 100% of the shares of the US-based cellulosic sugar developer, Virdia, for $33 million (EUR 24 million) with additional potential payouts totaling approximately $29 million following completion of specific technical and commercial milestones by 2017.

The acquisition of Virdia supports the vision of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials Division in becoming a significant player in biochemicals and biomaterials. The technology enables more efficient extraction of different valuable fractions of the biomass, allowing the possibility to develop and commercialise cost-effective renewable solutions to address well-identified market-driven needs. This is a new step in implementing the Division’s strategy, following the recent lignin extraction investment at Sunila Mill in Finland.

Founded in 2007, Virdia is a private, venture-capital-backed company. It runs a pilot facility in Danville, Virginia, USA. The main advantages of its technology, according to Stora Enso, are the cost-competitiveness and high purity of the output, which enable a variety of further conversion and upgrading possibilities for sugars and lignin as renewable intermediates for the specialty chemicals, construction, coatings, personal care and food industries, among others.

Next generation sugar developers have been making news recently such as Renmatix partnering with BASF, Virent/Coca-Cola;  Sweetwater Energy in JV with Naturally Scientific to convert CO2 to sugars; Proterro reaching its sugar pilot production milestones as well as recently receiving USPTO patents protecting its proprietary photobioreactor technology.

Another recent news is the partnership between Edeniq and China-based Global Bio-Chem Technology Group to develop and commercialize processes converting corn stover to industrial sugars.  The partners intend to build a demonstration plant that will produce 50 ktpa of industrial sugars and subsequently form a joint venture to further develop and commercialize their technology platform.

Global Bio-Chem is currently working on modification of corn stover at its facility in the Jilin Province of China. The company said the collaboration has gained support from the Jilin provincial government.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.


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