NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Norton, VA, United States, 2013/09/13 - Biomethodes, a French biotechnology company dedicated to the development of a bio-refinery process from non-Food biomass, and its US subsidiary OptaFuel, announced today that construction has begun on its pilot plant in Norton, VA - Biomethodes.com.
“Construction of our first pilot plant represents a significant Investment of $24 million and is the culmination of significant efforts at the lab scale and pre-operational scale, an important step in the path towards commercialization as well as a significant progress for bioeconomy based on non-food biomass,” stated Gilles Amsallem, CEO of Biomethodes. “We are also very excited that shortly our US team, composed of more than two dozen Virginia based scientists and engineers, will be able to move to this brand new facility.”
The pilot plant will scale-up and demonstrate the company’s process for transforming non-food feedstocks and enabling non-petrochemical fuels, materials, and chemicals. It will include a chemical pretreatment of lignocellulosic material and the action of enzymes developed through Biométhodes’ proprietary platform.
The facility will be focused on hardwood from the surrounding area, but will also be capable of conducting trials with a variety of other types of feedstock. It will serve as a stepping stone to a full-scale commercial facility as well as a source of material for subsequent development activities and partner needs. Operation of the pilot plant is anticipated to begin in 2014.
Founded in 1997, Biométhodes S.A. (biomethodes.com) is a French company located on Genopole Biocluster in Evry, near Paris. The company specializes in the field of bioengineering and optimization of proteins and industrial enzymes. Since 2008, Biométhodes has adapted its proprietary technologies to the field of green chemistry and the conversion of non-food biomass. The result of these efforts is a competitive process yielding ligno-cellulosic chemical compounds used by industry, and which serve as a substitute for petroleum. The company’s technology successfully integrates two crucial steps: chemical pretreatment and enzymatic hydrolysis. OptaFuel U.S., Inc.., ist U.S. subsidiary, is based in Virginia, where Biométhodes is building a pilot plant. Other projects are being developed in France and abroad. Biométhodes won the Cleantech Open France 2011 and the Chemstart'up 2011.
About OptaFuel US
OptaFuel US, Inc., located at Norton, VA, is the subsidiary of Biométhodes. OptaFuel US 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 biorefinery plant in the region.
Genopole is the leading French biocluster dedicated to research in genetics and biotech for healthcare and the environment. It brings together 21 academic laboratories, 71 biotech companies, 21 shareduse technology platforms and university teaching facilities. The biocluster's objectives are to promote research in genomics, post-genomics & related sciences, transfer technology to industry, develop high-level life science teaching & Training and foster the creation and growth of biotech companies.