QUINCY, Mass. -- Myriant Technologies LLC announced its collaboration with the University of Florida's (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Buckeye Technologies Inc. for a first-of-its-kind biorefinery pilot project to be located in Perry, Fla.



The 5-ton-per-day facility will produce both high-value specialty chemicals and biofuels from cellulosic materials, demonstrating the path to maximize value in a renewable, sustainable manner.



The plant will be located at Buckeye's Perry, Fla., facility and will be built with the aid of $20 million previously allocated by the Florida Legislature. The project will utilize UF-developed technologies to produce biobased chemicals with broad market applications, licensed exclusively to Myriant, as well as biofuels. With UF scientists operating the ethanol research platform, UF will be able to fulfill its research commitment to this technology; Myriant will operate the specialty chemicals component of the Project.



"The joint production of biochemicals and biofuels under one roof produces superior financial results compared to fuels alone," said Stephen J. Gatto, Myriant chairman and CEO. "The project will utilize the diversified model developed by the oil industry and apply it to clean, renewable feedstocks, delivering on the promise of independence from foreign oil and reduced greenhouse gas emissions via sustainable economic returns. The dream of producing fuels, chemicals and power from renewable materials is now a reality."



The partnership possesses strengths in every category necessary for the success of the project. The University of Florida's research program was the first to achieve success in the processing of cellulosic sugars and the metabolic conversion of those sugars into fuels and chemicals. Buckeye Technologies provides the ideal site and infrastructure for the Project, and is at the forefront of the paper industry in maximizing use and value of cellulosic feedstocks.



Myriant adds its own exceptional research to the equation, as well as the demonstrated capability to utilize the tools of the pilot project to refine the processes and substantiate commercial viability.



"This is not research for the sake of research," added Gatto. "Myriant's participation will ensure that our extensive pipeline of specialty chemicals is developed to demonstrate market requirements for rapid deployment, exactly as we've done with our prior commercialization of D(-) lactic acid and our forthcoming succinic acid products."



The project will be capable of producing in excess of 140,000 gallons of biofuels or 1,000 tons of biobased chemicals annually from a variety of feedstocks, including wood, sugar cane bagasse and sweet sorghum. The groundbreaking is planned for this fall, with start of operations scheduled for 2010.



With a world-renowned team of molecular biologists, engineers and chemists, Myriant utilizes proprietary technology to advance the development of low-cost cellulosic sugars for the sustainable commercialization of high-value specialty chemicals. The company's D(-) lactic acid started production at commercial scale in June 2008 for use in polylactic acid. Headquartered in Quincy, Mass., Myriant also has a fully integrated, state-of-the-art, 18,000 square foot laboratory located in nearby Woburn.



SOURCE: Myriant Technologies LLC via PR Newswire.