Canadian biofuel maker Iogen might have backed away from building a cellulosic plant in the U.S., but the company says it has already started shipping the first part of a roughly 50,000-gallon order of cellulosic ethanol to one of its investors and partners oil company Shell. Shell first invested in Iogen in 2002 and owns 50 percent of a jointly-owned development company Iogen Energy Corp.
Iogen was founded in 1974 and has been producing small amounts of cellulosic ethanol since 2004, in a demonstration plant in Ottawa. The company’s technology converts biomass into sugars using specialized enzymes; the sugars are then fermented and distilled to make cellulosic ethanol. Iogen told us they backed away from building a planned plant in the U.S. to focus on building a more advanced plant in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
The cellulosic ethanol that Iogen is shipping to Shell is made out of wheat straw at the company’s Ottawa demo plant, and Shell says it plans to use the fuel for various applications (sounds like testing). In a press release back in July, the companies said that Shell was “considering investing in
a full-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant and is contributing to Iogen’s detailed feasibility and
design assessment work.” Could that mean Shell will invest in Iogen’s Saskatchewan plant? Though there was no mention of that in this latest release.