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Cobalt and Rhodia to Jointly Develop Bagasse based Bio n-Butanol Market in Latin America

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Cobalt Technologies, a leading developer of next generation bio-based chemicals and Rhodia, a specialty chemical company, today announced the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding setting the basis for a strategic alliance to develop bio n-butanol refineries throughout Latin America.  

Under the terms of the alliance, Cobalt and Rhodia will work together to deploy Cobalt’s technology for the conversion of sugar cane bagasse into n-butanol for the chemicals and fuels market.  The parties will initially develop options for deploying Cobalt’s technology at a sugar mill. Following this first step, the partners will jointly develop a demonstration plant to demonstrate Cobalt’s technology on site in Brazil.  Following the demonstration plant the parties intend to construct multiple bio-refineries co-located with sugar mills, first in Brazil and then in other Latin American countries.
This relationship establishes a clear path to commercialization for our technology,” said Rick Wilson, Ph.D., and CEO of Cobalt Technologies.  “Rhodia is the perfect partner for expansion into Brazil and Latin America.  They have a long history of successful operations in Brazil and have significant experience in sugar mill operations through their ownership of a bagasse-based power plant co-located with a sugar mill.  Additionally, Rhodia is a renowned global chemical company, providing us a unique opportunity to market our products internationally through our partnership.”

Bio n-butanol based on bagasse will enlarge our Augeo® range of biosourced solvents and perfectly fits with Rhodia’s sustainable development strategy. We are convinced that Cobalt’s bagasse-based leading-edge technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term,” said Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit. “There is undoubtedly a huge potential for bio n-butanol in Latin America and beyond and we are looking forward to building a large international business with Cobalt.”

About Cobalt Technologies
Cobalt is the leading company in the production of low cost bio n-butanol, a platform molecule for the production of renewable chemicals and fuels, from cellulosic feedstocks. Bio n-butanol is a widely used industrial chemical found in paints, lacquers and other surface coatings, with a global market of over $5 billion, approximately eight times the size of the market for isobutanol. By producing low-cost bio n-butanol, Cobalt’s unique technology enables the use of bio n-butanol as a platform molecule for application in a broad array of chemical markets, including the plastics and synthetic rubber markets. Cobalt’s low-cost platform also enables fuels production such as jet fuel, where, Cobalt and the U.S. Navy have jointly developed technology to convert Cobalt’s bio n-butanol into full performance jet fuel and are on track to achieve fuel certification. Cobalt’s technology platform offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstocks into biobutanol.Engineered to achieve low costs through its proprietary biocatalyst, advanced bioreactor and energy efficient design and the use of low-cost feedstock, Cobalt is making biobutanol and its derivatives a cost-effective substitute to petroleum-based chemical products. Cobalt is based in Mountain View, CA. Cobalt is backed by leading investors in the cleantech sector, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Parsons & Whittemore, Life Sciences Partners (LSP), @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company.

About Rhodia
Rhodia is an international chemical company resolutely committed to sustainable development. As a leader in its businesses, the Group aims to improve its customers’ performance through the pursuit of operational excellence and its ability to innovate. Structured around 11 Global Business Units (GBUs) within 5 business clusters, Rhodia is the partner of major players in the automotive, electronics, flavors and fragrances, health, personal and home care markets, consumer goods and industrial markets. The Group employs around 14,000 people worldwide and generated sales of 5.23 billion in 2010.

Coatis a Rhodia Global Business Unit develops oxygenated solvents and manufactures phenol-based products and derivatives specifically for the worldwide market

About Solvay 
SOLVAY is an international industrial Group active in Chemistry. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs about 14,800 people in 40 countries. In 2010, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 7.1 billion. Solvay is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels, Belgium (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE - Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLBt.BR).



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