Company initiatives, Investments

Green chemicals investment roundup

While investment money being bestowed this year is not as big as those seen in 2008-2010, this is definitely better than nothing, and there seems to be more hope of investors opening up their wallets again.

Last month saw a lot of successful financing announcements. Segetis was able to get $21.2 million in funding from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), a state economic development agency based in northeastern Minnesota.

Segetis plans to construct a commercial-scale plant at the Laskin Energy Park in Hoyt Lakes, Minn., based in their levulinic acid platform. Total project investment is $105 million, 70% of which will be funded by the company. The Segetis project is forecasted to have an annual $55 million economic impact on the region, supporting over 545 jobs, according to an independent study from the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality.

Amyris received a $4 million capital investment from Kuraray. The company has expanded and extended for two more years its ongoing collaboration in high performance polymers with Kuraray using Amyris’ renewable farnesene Biofene. Kuraray is reportedly launching a new category of elastomers such as viscosity index improvers, sealants and adhesives made from Biofene. Amyris expects to receive an undisclosed amount of collaboration funding over the next two years.

By the way, Amyris reported last month that it has successfully restarted its industrial fermentation plant in Brotas, Brazil, following a planned maintenance period. The company said it remains on track with its 2014 business plan, including producing its first fragrance oil, patchouli, later this year at Brotas.

Also late last month, Algal Scientific Corporations, a biotech developer and manufacturer of algae-based chemicals, has completed a $3 million financing led by Evonik Ventures, Formation8 Partners and Independence Equity. The funding will allow the company to begin commercial-scale production in Michigan, and sale of Algamune, the company’s brand of algae-based beta-1,3 glucan, a polysaccharide that strengthens immune response and is used as an additive in animal feeds, as a nutritional supplement as well as in pharmaceutical formulations.

Evonik said this is the first time it has been possible to obtain β-glucan from algae on an industrial scale. β-glucan is usually extracted from grain or produced using yeasts or fungi. Algal’s new biotechnological process reportedly needs fewer production steps and at the same time generates significantly higher yields.

Evonik said it plans to invest within its venture capital activities a total of €100 million in highly promising start-ups with break-through technologies and leading specialist venture capital funds. These investments will focus on Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

Here are some of the other financing news announced in April that the blog already posted:

  • Verdezyne recently received a total of $48 million financing, $30 million of which came from Malaysian conglomerate firm, Sime Darby
  • P2 Science received a $500,000 investment from Connecticut Innovations (CI), an organization that helps Connecticut businesses grow through creative financing and strategic assistance
  • Rivertop Renewables has raised $26 million from Cargill, First Green Partners and existing investors
  • LanzaTech bagged $60 million in its series D funding round led by Mitsui & Co. ($20 million) and new investors Siemens via its Venture Capital unit (SFS VC), CICC Growth Capital Fund I, L.P. as well as from existing investors: Khosla Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners, K1W1 and the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund.
  • PHA-based plastics technology developer and producer, Newlight Technologies, has successfully completed its Series C financing round, raising $9.2 million from both new and existing investors

In February, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) invested $25 million in Rennovia; BioAmber secures $10 million loan from Ag Canada; and Microvi Biotechnologies has been awarded $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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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