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Cobalt Technologies and Rhodia to Build Bio n-Butanol Demonstration Facility in Latin America

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Cobalt Technologies, a leading developer of next generation bio-based chemicals and specialty chemical company Rhodia, member of the Solvay Group, today announced they will begin joint development and operation of a biobutanol demonstration facility in Brazil. This is one more step by the two companies toward the construction of commercial-scale biorefineries using Cobalt’s technology to convert Brazilian bagasse and other local non-food feedstock into bio n-butanol in Latin America.  Butanol is widely used as an industrial chemical found in paints, adhesives, inks, and other solvents.

"This agreement puts us on a clear path towards commercialization, which will result in the development of the first commercial-scale biorefinery using bagasse as a feedstock for the production of biobutanol," said Bob Mayer, CEO of Cobalt Technologies.  "We are very pleased to be working with Rhodia.  Our corporate values and goals are aligned and Rhodia’s experience in the global chemical markets and long history of success in Latin America position us well for success."

Under the Term Sheet, Cobalt and Rhodia will build and operate a biobutanol demonstration plant, which will validate Cobalt’s technology and its ability to seamlessly integrate with existing sugar mills in Brazil. Work will begin in August 2012 and will move to a mill site in early 2013 for integration testing. Operational testing at the demonstration plant is expected to be completed by Mid-2013.

"We are convinced that Cobalt’s technology will provide an unmatched cost advantage over the long term, while also enhancing our sustainable development strategy related to our Augeo® range of biosourced solvents," said Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit. "We look forward to our continued partnership, working closely with Cobalt to capitalize on the massive market opportunity for bio n-butanol in Latin American and beyond."

Over the past nine months, the two companies explored options for integrating Cobalt’s technology into existing sugar mills. This feasibility phase confirmed the scalability and attractive economics of Cobalt’s biomass processing and advanced fermentation technology, as well as its viability to work with Brazil’s local biomass, prompting the companies to sign today’s Term Sheet that moves their relationship into its next phase.  

About Cobalt Technologies
Cobalt Technologies is a leader in commercializing the production of bio n-butanol as a renewable chemical and fuel.  N-butanol is a widely used industrial chemical found in paints, lacquers and other surface coatings, with a global market of over $5 billion.  By producing low-cost bio n-butanol, Cobalt’s unique technology enables the use of bio n-butanol as a platform molecule for the production of a broad array of fuels and chemicals, including jet fuel, bio-based plastics and synthetic rubber.  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, 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, Calif. 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.


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