Flagship VentureLabs launches Midori Renewables

By Flagship VentureLabs | September 05, 2013

Flagship VentureLabs announced today that Midori Renewables is globally deploying their trademarked Breaking the Biomass Barrier technology, a novel catalyst that melts non-food biomass into low cost sugar, enabling the production of many valuable renewable products and animal feed. Midori's catalyst is a solid material, not an enzyme, micro-organism, or aqueous acid, that can be easily separated from the reaction and reused, resulting in a significantly lower cost solution than existing technologies.

"We evaluated hundreds of technologies before we invented our own solid catalyst, which is truly an innovative way to produce ultra-low cost sugars for sustainable biobased products," said Brian Baynes, founder and chairman of Midori and partner at Flagship VentureLabs. "People have been trying to cost-effectively break down cellulose in biomass for more than 100 years, and we have finally done it." Midori's technology has been shown to be effective on a variety of biomass feedstocks and can bolt-on to existing corn, sugarcane or palm oil processing facilities, converting low value cellulosic waste into high value, usable sugars.

Over the past 12 months, Midori has been testing its technology in a range of markets including, renewable fuels, renewable chemicals, food/feed, and consumer goods materials, converting biomass into sugar at costs as low as pennies per pound. Midori has already been issued two foundational U.S. patents on its catalyst technology and has more than 10 additional families of patents pending worldwide. The company will begin constructing a commercial demonstration facility in 2014 and is currently in partnering discussions with several engineering, procurement and construction firms to build the plant.

Midori is assembling a world class leadership team led by Daniel Trunfio, president and CEO. "Midori has made a significant technology breakthrough, one of the most substantial I have seen in my three decades in the oil and gas industry," said Trunfio. "I am very excited to be leading Midori into its next phase of growth."

Mr. Trunfio has 30 years of domestic and international experience in the oil and renewable fuels industries. He began his professional career with Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Co. in 1984 and held increasing leadership roles including vicep and general manager and led the development and implementation of Shell's bio-fuel strategies and operations worldwide. Trunfio also held senior positions in trading, supply chain management, marketing and operations.

Midori was founded within Flagship VentureLabs, the innovation foundry of Flagship Ventures. Noubar Afeyan, managing partner and CEO of Flagship Ventures, is on the board of directors. "Midori follows a growing list of disruptive ventures emerging from our VentureLabs unit," said Afeyan. "Our technology breakthrough has been well validated and our patented biomass conversion process promises to transform the biomass based fuels and chemicals industry in a major way."

Midori has also assembled a scientific advisory board that includes renowned experts Charlie Wyman, Ford Motor Co., chair and professor of chemical and environmental engineering at the University of California, Riverside; Richard Bailey, former CEO of Microbia Inc.; and Leo Manzer, a former DuPont executive and DuPont Technical Fellow.