Solix Biofuels receives funding to build pilot-scale plant in Colorado

By Bryan Sims | November 13, 2008
Web exclusive posted Nov. 19, 2008 at 9:55 a.m. CST

Fort Collins, Colo.-based Solix Biofuels has raised $10.5 million in a Series A round of outside financing and reached an agreement with its investors for an additional commitment of $5 million. The funding will support the construction of a pilot-scale plant in Durango, Colo., and will enable Solix to produce oil feedstocks derived from algae that will be supplied to biodiesel producers and the chemical industry.

The Series A funding was led by I2BF Venture Capital, a London-based venture capital firm focused on biofuels development, and Bohemian Investments, a private investment company based in Forth Collins, Colo. Southern Ute Alternative Energy LLC, Valero Energy Corp. and Infield Capital also participated in the round.

The $5 million follow-on commitment from the investor group will provide construction financing for the pilot plant, which will be jointly developed by Solix Biofuels and Southern Ute Alternative Energy. The plant, which will be located on a 10-acre site on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in southwest Colorado, will be built in two phases with the first phase scheduled to be completed in 12 to 18 months. The first phase calls for four acres of photo-bioreactors for growing algae and one acre for a lab facility. Upon completion of the first phase, Solix will build an additional five-acre expansion that will allow the pilot facility to produce at commercial-scale.

"We secured this investment with energy industry innovators who see the potential for algae to transform our energy economy," said Doug Henston, chief executive officer of Solix. "Our partners understand Solix Biofuels' technologies and the potential for large-scale commercialization."

According to Henston, Solix is not a biofuel producer, but rather a biofuel feedstock supplier that supplies feedstocks to would-be biofuel producers.

"There are plenty of buyers for the oil and we have buyers already lined up," Henston said.

Meanwhile, two new members joined Solix's board of directors: Jim Gillingham of Valero Energy and Rebecca Kauffman, president and chief operating officer of Southern Ute Alternative Energy.

Solix Biofuels is a spin-off and technology partner of Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Solix seed funds were used to support research by CSU faculty and graduate students in identifying algae species with the best potential to grow at large-scale to produce high yields of fuel and chemical feedstocks and to develop technology that can bring the process to commercial-scale.

To learn more about Solix Biofuels, visit www.solixbiofuels.com/.
 
 
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