Desmet Ballestra, Verenium partner

By Luke Geiver | November 17, 2010
Posted Nov. 23, 2010

Enzyme company Verenium Corp. has partnered with global oils, fats and biodiesel technology firm Desmet Ballestra to expand the use and geographic reach of its vegetable-oil-specific enzyme, Purifine PLC. Nearly a month after announcing a partnership with Alfa Laval to jointly market the enzyme, Verenium has signed with Desmet Ballestra to market the Purifine enzymatic degumming process, while packaging the enzyme with Desmet Ballestra's processing equipment and engineering services.

"Purifine PLC is a novel enzyme that can be used to increase the yields from the vegetable oil refining process for the production of both biodiesel fuel and edible oils," according to Kelly Lindenboom, vice president of corporate communications for Verenium. Edible oil and biodiesel production diverge after the removal of phospholipids from the crude oil, Lindenboom said, so the enzyme-degummed oil can be refined for either end product. "In fact, the PLC-treated oil contains fewer impurities that can result from conventional processing so there are benefits in refining the oil for either edible or biodiesel use."

Like the partnership with Alfa Laval, the newly formed effort with Desmet Ballestra "allows us to extend our geographic reach and can accelerate the growth of our Purifine PLC business without incurring substantial costs," Lindenboom added. "The second agreement, complementary to the agreement with Alfa Laval, is also in part to address the market pull for choice of engineering firms to implement PLC processing."

The new partnership also helps Verenium accelerate the timeline in getting the enzyme to market, but Verenium's work isn't completed yet. "We will continue to evaluate opportunities to partner with blue chip firms in a variety of different capacities," she said. "Currently we are exploring options for partnering with companies to either reduce near-term development costs, reduce implementation risks," or, as the company feels it has done with its most recent partnership, "speed the time to market."

The Purifine PLC enzyme is a phospholipase C enzyme that acts as the main component in the degumming process for refining soybean oil and other high-phosphorus vegetable oils, according to the company, which also stated that the enzymatic degumming product "may also enhance yields of biodiesel from crude oil."
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