The collaboration with Iogen is a key part of Shell’s programme to develop biofuels, particularly in those that use non-food feedstocks such as wheat straw.
In Iogen’s cellulose ethanol process, pre-treated fibre is first converted to sugars using enzymes. Sugars are subsequently fermented to ethanol, and then the ethanol is purified to fuel.
As part of a new deal between the two, Shell will increase its shareholding in the company from 26.3 per cent to 50 per cent. Shell first took an equity stake in the company back in 2002.
Iogen’s first demonstration plant opened in Ottawa in Canada in 2004. Now, Shell is considering investing in a full-scale commercial cellulosic ethanol plant and contributing to Iogen’s detailed feasibility and design assessment work to make that a possibility.