CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Verenium Corporation (Nasdaq: VRNM), a pioneer in the development of next-generation cellulosic ethanol and high-performance specialty enzymes, and international energy company BP today announced that their jointly-owned, commercial cellulosic ethanol project, located in Highlands County, Florida, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enter the due diligence phase of its Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program. Under this program, the DOE may provide loan guarantees for project debt covering up to 80% of eligible costs. The Highlands project is scheduled to break ground in 2010.
"We are thrilled to move forward into this next phase with the DOE. We believe this signals an important endorsement of our cellulosic process technology and a strong show of support for the advancement of next-generation biofuels," said Carlos A. Riva, President and Chief Executive Officer at Verenium. "This type of government support is absolutely critical to develop new technology at commercial scale and enable the growth of emerging, high-impact industries, such as alternative energy."
"The joint venture's progress to the next stage of the review process for the DOE loan guarantee program is very encouraging. We look forward to hearing the outcome of the process and being able to proceed with building an important new cellulosic ethanol plant in Florida," Sue Ellerbusch, President of BP Biofuels North America said.
The BP-Verenium Joint Venture
The joint venture (JV) between BP and Verenium is a 50/50 JV between two world-class energy leaders for the commercialization of next-generation cellulosic ethanol, a non-food-based, renewable transportation biofuel. The JV will act as the commercial entity for the deployment of cellulosic ethanol technology being developed and proven under the first phase of the BP-Verenium partnership, announced last August. With plans to add additional capacity, the JV also intends to develop a second site in the Gulf Coast region.
Verenium Corporation is a leader in the development and commercialization of cellulosic ethanol, an environmentally-friendly and renewable transportation fuel, as well as high-performance specialty enzymes for applications within the biofuels, industrial, and animal health markets. The Company possesses integrated, end-to-end capabilities and cutting-edge technology in pre-treatment, novel enzyme development, fermentation and project development for next-generation biofuels. Through a joint venture with BP, the Company is moving rapidly to commercialize its proprietary technology for the production of ethanol from a wide array of non-food feedstocks, including dedicated energy crops, agricultural waste, and wood products. In addition to the vast potential for biofuels, a multitude of large-scale industrial opportunities exist for the Company for products derived from the production of low-cost, biomass-derived sugars.
Verenium's Specialty Enzyme business harnesses the power of enzymes to create a broad range of specialty products to meet high-value commercial needs. Verenium's world class R&D organization is renowned for its capabilities in the rapid screening, identification, and expression of enzymes-proteins that act as the catalysts of biochemical reactions. For more information on Verenium, visit http://www.verenium.com.
BP is of one of the world's largest energy companies, providing its customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, retail services and petrochemicals products for everyday items. It is the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S. and one of the largest refiners. BP also has a global network of around 22,000 service stations.
BP is a leading player in the global biofuels market. In the US, BP blended and distributed more than 1 billion US gallons of ethanol around 1.6 million US gallons of biodiesel in 2008. Since 2006, BP has announced investments of more than $1.5 billion in biofuels research, development and operations. This includes partnerships with other companies to develop the technologies, feedstocks and processes required to produce advanced biofuels and $500 million over 10 years in the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), at which biotechnologists are investigating applications of biotechnology to energy.
Forward Looking Statements for Verenium
Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical are "forward-looking" and involve a high degree of risk and uncertainty. These include, but are not limited to, statements related to the Company's operations, capabilities, commercialization activities, target markets, cellulosic ethanol facilities, and future financial performance, results and objectives, all of which are prospective. Such statements are only predictions, and actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to the differences include, but are not limited to, risks associated with Verenium's technologies, risks associated with the costs, labor requirements and labor availability associated with Verenium's demonstration plant, risks associated with Verenium's ability to obtain additional capital to support its planned operations and financial obligations, risks associated with Verenium's dependence on patents and proprietary rights, risks associated with Verenium's protection and enforcement of its patents and proprietary rights, technological, regulatory, competitive and other risks related to development, production, and commercialization of cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels and the commercial prospects of those industries, Verenium's dependence on existing collaboration, manufacturing, and/or license agreements, and its ability to achieve milestones under existing and future collaboration agreements, the ability of Verenium and its partners to commercialize its technologies and products (including by obtaining any required regulatory approvals) using Verenium's technologies and timing for launching any commercial products and projects, the ability of Verenium and its collaborators to market and sell any products that it or they commercialize, the development or availability of competitive products or technologies, the future ability of Verenium to enter into and/or maintain collaboration and joint venture agreements and licenses, changes in the U.S. or global energy markets and laws and regulations applicable to them, and risks and other uncertainties more fully described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, the Company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2009. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
Vice President, Corporate Communications
Sr. Corporate Communications Associate
BP U.S. Press Office, Houston
BP Press Office, London
+44 (0)207 496 4076
SOURCE Verenium Corporation