Biomethodes Locates US Pilot Plant and Subsidiary OptaFuel in Southwest Virginia

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Pilot Plant to Integrate Pretreatment and Enzyme Optimization Technologies

Biomethodes announced today that the headquarters of its North American subsidiary, OptaFuel US, Inc., will be based in Abingdon, Virginia, and the company plans to build a pilot plant in southwest Virginia. OptaFuel’s pilot plant will scale-up and demonstrate the company’s technologies for transforming lignocellulosic feedstocks into fuels, lignin materials, and chemicals.

“The pilot plant will integrate two major technologies: (1) a pretreatment and delignification process that breaks down biomass and (2) a hydrolysis enzyme optimization technology to improve cellulose degradation into fermentable sugars,” commented Gilles Amsallem Biomethodes’ CEO. “The first of those two technologies was invented at Virginia Tech and both technologies were developed in France by Biomethodes, OptaFuel’s parent company.”

The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved more than $2.5 million for project activities in the first year of the three-year project. Biomethodes SA is providing additional first-year funds. Abingdon’s Clean Energy Research & Development Center worked to secure the project for southwest Virginia.

“This project is another great example that the Virginia Tobacco Region is an ideal location for energy technology companies to develop and implement technology,” stated the Honorable Joe Johnson, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from southwest Virginia.

“We were extremely pleased that Biomethodes chose this area of Virginia for OptaFuel,” said Ed Rogers, Director of the Clean Energy R&D Center. “OptaFuel perfectly fits our model of building an even stronger regional energy industry and growing a knowledge-based economy.”

Initially focusing on woody biomass from timber operations in the region, the pilot plant will also experiment with other types of feedstock and is a stepping stone to a full-scale commercial facility in southwest Virginia. Over the next 12 months more than $5.5 million will be invested in the pilot plant project, with $25-$30 million to be devoted to the project over the next 3 years.

ABOUT Biomethodes SA
Biomethodes is pioneering the development and commercialization of new technologies for the transformation of lignocellulosic feedstocks into fuels, materials, and chemicals. The company’s technology successfully integrates two crucial steps: chemical pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. The result is a patented process that offers significant improvements in processing conditions and operating cost compared to other available technologies. Biomethodes’ technology package will be exclusively developed in the North American market by its subsidiary OptaFuel US, Inc.
Contact: Gilles Amsallem, CEO, gilles.amsallem (at) biomethodes (dot) com, +33 160 912 125.

ABOUT OptaFuel US, Inc.
OptaFuel US, Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Biomethodes SA. OptaFuel will build and operate a Pilot Plant in southwest Virginia, and once the process is fully qualified, will build and operate a full-scale industrial bio-refinery plant in the region. Contact: Anthony Scime, CEO, anthony (at) optafuel (dot) com, 276-601-1500.

ABOUT The Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission
The Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body created by the 1999 General Assembly to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. For information on the Commission’s history, mission, funding programs and recent grant awards, visit our website at or call toll free 877-807-1086.

ABOUT The Clean Energy Research & Development Center
The Clean Energy Research & Development Center helps grow the southwest Virginia economy by identifying promising energy technology companies and helping them establish their operations in southwest Virginia. The Clean Energy Research & Development Center is supported by the Virginia Tobacco Region. It is based in Abingdon, VA. Contact: Ed Rogers, Director, erogers (at) swcenter (dot) edu, 276-619-4396.


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Gilles Amsallem
+33 160 912 125
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