The locally headquartered company was chosen by Raizen Group, a large producer of ethanol from sugarcane in Brazil, to develop and engineer the front-end design of a facility that will be co-located with Raizen’s existing factory in Piracicaba, São Paulo.
“We believe Iogen has one of the most robust, well proven and competitive technologies in the cellulosic ethanol business,” stated Raizen CEO Vasco Dias in a company release.
“We see tremendous potential for this technology in meeting the world's growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable fuels.”
While Raizen creates ethanol from the sugar extracted from sugarcane, it doesn’t have the capability to create more ethanol from the leftover material, called bagasse. That’s where Iogen’s technology comes in.
Raizen conducted a review of technologies around the world and concluded that Iogen has the most advanced technology ready for commercialization, according to the release.
“We're excited to be working with a major ethanol industry player like Raízen,” stated Iogen CEO Brian Foody. “Large scale commercialization in Brazil will open the door for broader commercialization of our technology.”
Iogen Energy is a division of Iogen Corp., which also includes a subsect that specializes in creating enzymes for various functions including softening denim to make blue jeans. The entire company is headquartered in Ottawa.
Various details of the facility are yet to be announced, including the monetary value of the contract, timelines for construction and size of the facility. Spokesperson Jeff Passmore said that additional announcements will be made in the coming months.
The Brazilian facility will be owned by Raizen, but use Iogen technology, Mr. Passmore said.
Earlier this year, Iogen announced it was cancelling its plan to build a larger-scale cellulosic ethanol facility in Manitoba, and that it would be cutting 150 jobs.
About 130 employees remain in Ottawa, and they will be working on the development and design of the Brazilian facility, Mr. Passmore said.
“Everybody was disappointed that the Canadian facility wasn’t going ahead, but this is a good technology exporting story,” he said.
While Iogen has had its eye on venturing into Europe and the United States, this will be the first export of Iogen technology abroad.
Iogen Energy has been producing ethanol from biomass at its Ottawa demonstration plant since 2004, where it has produced more than two million litres. The company claims to be the world’s longest running cellulosic ethanol facility. It is co-owned by Royal Dutch Shell and Iogen Corp., which was founded in 1974.
Raizen is also partly owned by Royal Dutch Shell, as well as Brazilian ethanol company Cosan S.A. Raizen. It’s a $12-billion joint venture between the two companies that produces 2.2 billion liters of ethanol annually as well as four million tons of sugar, according to the company.