Elevance, Wilmar to build biochemical refinery

By | June 15, 2010

Posted June 29, 2010

Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. announced that it has entered into an agreement to form a joint venture with Wilmar International Ltd., one of the largest global agribusiness groups, to construct a world-scale biorefinery. The joint venture will use Elevance's proprietary biorefinery technology to produce high-value performance chemicals, advanced biofuels and oleochemicals. Large existing and rapidly emerging new demand exists for these products in surfactants, antimicrobials, lubricants, renewable biodiesel and green jet fuels.

This commercial-scale manufacturing facility will begin with a capacity of 180,000 metric tons (approximately 400 million pounds) with the ability to expand up to 360,000 metric tons of products. The facility will be located within Wilmar's new integrated manufacturing complex now under construction in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The new plant is expected to come online in 2011, and like all facilities based on Elevance's biorefinery technology, it will be capable of operating using multiple renewable oil feedstocks, such as palm, mustard, soybean, jatropha or waste oils.

Once operational, the biorefinery will produce green olefins, including a unique distribution of alpha and internal olefins for chemicals and advanced fuels; novel multifunctional esters and acids, including 9-decenoic acid, as well as a premium mixture of oleochemicals and advanced biofuels.

"Elevance's unique technology fits our current business and asset footprint very well and provides an exciting growth opportunity. It is a very capital-efficient way to enhance the value of the renewable resource feedstocks we produce," said Rahul Kale, Head of Biofuels and Oleochemicals at Wilmar. "We look forward to working together to develop and deploy the technology at our facility."

"As a leader in producing, refining, and marketing renewable feedstocks, Wilmar represents an ideal partner for the first commercial-scale biorefinery that Elevance will be investing in," said K'Lynne Johnson, CEO of Elevance. "Wilmar's extensive capabilities and existing operations in Asia will allow us to quickly build and begin operating an integrated facility, accelerating the delivery of cost-effective, high-performing, renewable-based specialty chemicals to the market. This joint venture represents the next step in growing Elevance internationally."

The joint venture is subject to certain conditions such as relevant government approvals.

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