Shell, Codexis to advance next-generation biofuels

Uchenna Izundu
International Editor

LONDON, Nov. 9 -- Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Codexis Inc., a specialist in clean biocatalytic process technologies, have teamed to find ways of converting biomass to clean, renewable liquid transportation fuels through "super enzymes" in the next generation of biofuels. This partnership builds on earlier collaboration that began in November 2006.

The companies will conduct research together over the next 5 years, with Shell making an equity investment in Codexis and becoming a member of the company's board. "Research will focus on adapting enzymes to improve the conversion of a range of raw materials into high-performance fuels. It will assist Shell in developing the next generation of biofuels as it explores a number of nonfood bio materials, new conversion processes, and alternative fuel products," Shell said.

Codexis scientists say they have developed super enzymes that can outperform naturally occurring varieties. This pioneering technology has been used to improve manufacturing processes for leading pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Merck.

"Breaking down and converting alternative, nonfood biomaterial into high quality fuels for transport is complex," said Graeme Sweeney, Shell executive vice-president for future fuels and carbon dioxide. "Processing efficiently at scale, in terms of both cost and C02 production, is challenging." He said the research is expected to accelerate Shell's drive to make the biofuels a commercial reality.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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