TMO Renewables secures feedstock for proposed Brazil plant

By Erin Voegele | October 11, 2012

U.K.-based TMO Renewables Ltd. recently announced it signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Usina Santa Maria Cerquilho in Brazil with regard to a feedstock agreement for a cellulosic ethanol plant. Usina Santa Maria Cerquilho is an associate of Copasucar, a large Brazilian sugar and ethanol production company.

Under the agreement, Usina Santa Maria Cerquilho would supply 400,000 metric tons of sugarcane bagasse per year for a period of 25 years to a proposed ethanol plant build adjacent to its sugar mill. The plant would initially be capable of producing 10 million liters (2.64 million gallons) of ethanol per year, and would be built under a joint venture formed between TMO Renewables and the mill owners.

TMO was one of 20 businesses that took part in a British trade delegation to Brazil. The delegation was led by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and aimed to pursue new business opportunities between the two countries.

According to TMO Renewables, the company presented its technology for cellulosic ethanol production to industry leaders in Brazil during the trip. The LOI with Usina Santa Maria Cerquilho is a direct result of that demonstration.

“It’s great to see that this visit is already delivering results and has given TMO a foothold in the Brazilian market,” said Cameron. “It reflects TMO’s expertise in this pioneering technology and highlights the opportunities for British companies in this fast growing market. TMO’s success in China and now in Brazil demonstrates exactly what the government is working to achieve—getting more British companies linked up with new markets to boost growth and create jobs back at home.”

TMO Renewables’ technology focuses on a proprietary thermophilic bacteria, along with a steam pretreatment process and high-solid enzyme hydrolysis process. TMO commissioned a demonstration unit that features the technology in 2008.

TMO Renewables is also developing projects in China. Earlier this year the company announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the authorities of Heilongjiang, China to secure large volumes of biomass.

“It was a pleasure to work with the Prime Minister and his team and benefit from their support.,” said David Weaver, CEO of TMO Renewables. “We had a positive interaction that opened doors for us and are delighted that our strategic aim of entering our two principal target markets of China and Brazil is coming to fruition. TMO is well on the way to developing its leading second generation ethanol technology in overseas markets, which will lead to rapid growth in the company and more jobs in UK technology.”