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Alkol Biotech sells half a ton of sugarcane bagasse for 2G ethanol testing


London, 16 May 2016 - Alkol Biotech sold half a ton of EUnergyCane sugarcane bagasse for scientific cellulosic ethanol technology testing. The client is a leading 2G ethanol technology producer from Europe, and its purpose is being able to produce real results to sugarcane-based ethanol producers from Brazil and other countries. In Brazil alone there are over 380 sugarcane mills. However, most of those mills use the bagasse to produce electricity, so there is an increasing interest to use it instead to produce cellulosic ethanol, as companies such as GranBio are already proving its viability. Also, there is a positive outlook in that market due to the recent impeachment of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, whose government was considered very negative to the local ethanol market. However, for 2G ethanol technology producers in Europe, until now the option was to import sugarcane bagasse from producing countries such as Brazil or India. In fact, that was the route chosen recently by a major 2G ethanol producer from Germany, which reportedly imported 40 containers from Brazil. The problem with that approach is the extensive phytosanitary and regulatory procedures required, which usually meant over 8 months of delays (thus, costs), not considering the transport itself. Also, the final product was adulterated due to the extensive fumigation and the fact it had to come frozen, thus making the results unreliable and thus the sale of the technology to a naturally mistrusting sugarcane ethanol producer, challenging. However, the fact that the EUnergyCane variety grows in European territory means it can bypass those procedures and the client is able to receive the product in just a few days. In fact, the client received it refrigerated in just 2 days by regular truck. The bagasse came from a sugarcane variety developed by the company called EUnergyCane. It is grown in the company's fields in the city of Motril in Spain, and is a hybrid of naturally occurring sugarcane varieties grown for over 200 years. In fact, until now it is the only genuinely native sugarcane variety in Europe and the company is improving it to grow in UK and Europe. Also, the bagasse was sent finely cut, preventing it the client of having to cut it itself. This is a major benefit towards the usual routes, which send the bagasse straight from the crusher, which means the client having to cut it itself in order to deploy scientific tests. Also, the client received the tips and leaves in a separate cargo, as recent research seem to prove them as also valuable sources of cellulosic ethanol. According to Alkol’s founder Al Costa, “I am quite proud to realize we are the only producers of sugarcane in the entire European continent. At first our model was constantly challenged, but this sale proves we are indeed in the right track, which means funding to take the EUnergyCane to the next level. I know it is just a matter of time until we see sugarcane being grown in regions when no one would ever dare to. After all, no one remembers corn actually came from Mexico and the tomatoes we eat in Europe are grown in the Almeria desert. So at the end it’s just a matter of passion and hard work”

About Alkol Biotech
Alkol Biotech is a UK based company which is leading the way in the development of sustainable feedstocks to feed the new biobased economy. The company adapts plant varities to grow in colder and drier climates, offering better resistance to pests and diseases, and higher productivities. Its first crop is the EUnergyCane, currently the only sugarcane variety natively european and able to grow in cold regions.
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