Cellulosic Ethanol JV to Use Wood Chips

SunOpta Inc. signed a joint venture (JV) agreement with GreenField Ethanol Inc. to develop and implement commercial scale processes to produce cellulosic ethanol from wood chips.

One or more commercial-scale plants using the new process are planned. The venture, 50% owned by GreenField and 50% by SunOpta’s BioProcess Group, will use the SunOpta BioProcess Group’s patented and proprietary process solutions. The first plant is planned to produce 40 million liters (approximately 10 million gallons) of cellulosic ethanol per year, which would be the first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant built and operational in the world using wood chips. Greenfield Ethanol and SunOpta are actively involved in selecting a site for the first plant in Ontario or Quebec. Subsequent plants will be in the range of 200 to 400 million liters (approximately 50 to 100 million gallons) per year capacity. Steve Bromley, President and COO of SunOpta commented, “The SunOpta BioProcess Group is raising $30 million to fund exciting growth projects utilizing the Group’s proprietary technology in the production of cellulosic ethanol.” The SunOpta BioProcess Group, which has delivered biomass solutions worldwide for the last 30 years, produces cellulosic ethanol and supplies equipment and technology to three cellulosic ethanol projects in the U.S., Spain, and China. GreenField Ethanol, formerly Commercial Alcohols, produces 215-million liters a year of corn-based ethanol at its plants in Ontario. A third facility in Quebec is slated to open in February 2007 and two more plants are under construction in Ontario, to be operational in 2008. GreenField’s fuel is available at more than 1,500 gas stations across Canada.

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