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Inventure closes $5M funding round with lead investor Wilmar

By Inventure Renewables | May 04, 2012

Inventure Renewables and its sister company, Inventure International, have closed a $5 million round of financing with an option to increase funding in a second tranche to a total of $12 million. Lead investor Wilmar International has taken an equity stake in both companies. A portion of the funds will be used to build and operate a pilot plant to convert palm fiber waste and sugar cane bagasse into mixed sugars, which can be used for fermentation into ethanol, butanol, and the creation of carbon-neutral building blocks for a range of industrial chemicals frequently fabricated from petroleum.

CMEA Capital is also participating in this round of funding, along with several other investors.

"The market potential for converting palm waste and sugar cane bagasse into sugars is tremendous," said Mark Tegen, CEO of Inventure Renewables. "In Indonesia and Malaysia alone, there are more than 700 palm mills, generating over 120 million tons of palm waste (fiber, shells, trunk wood) a year. This biomass, if successfully converted to sugar, represents over $5 billion per year in biomass based sugar potential. This round of funding will allow us to illustrate our technology's efficacy with the pilot plant, and proceed to large-scale operations."

"We are constantly looking for innovative ways to create more value from our processes," said Rahul Kale, group head of oleochemicals and biofuels for Wilmar International. "The process technology that Inventure has developed has potential as a cost-effective method for turning palm and sugar biomass residues into valuable products."

"We are proud of the progress Inventure has made in scaling their technology for the thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals, and in building a sustainable business together with outstanding strategic partners like Wilmar", said Michael Melnick, venture partner at CMEA Capital and member of the board of directors at Inventure.

Inventure Renewables develops patented and patent pending process technology for the production of third-generation green chemicals, synthetic jet fuel, biodiesel, and green gasoline from biomass. Feedstocks, such as palm waste, algae, corn stover and cobs, cane bagasse, switch grass, wood fiber, rice husk and rice straw, are processed quickly and efficiently, using a chemical catalytic process, to generate fuels, fuel intermediates, chemicals and chemical intermediates. Inventure Renewables operates at the Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneur Center at The University of Alabama, where innovations are brought out of the center and into commerce.

Inventure International (Pte) Ltd., a company incorporated in Singapore, will operate the pilot plant using Inventure Renewables' technologies to convert palm fiber waste and other biomass into mixed industrial sugars, and will spearhead the commercialization /commercial sale of the processes.

Wilmar International Ltd., founded in 1991 and headquartered in Singapore, is Asia's leading agribusiness group. Wilmar is ranked amongst the largest listed companies by market capitalization on the Singapore Exchange. Wilmar's business activities include oil palm cultivation, oilseeds crushing, edible oils refining, sugar milling and refining, specialty fats, oleochemicals, biodiesel and fertilisers manufacturing and grains processing. At the core of Wilmar's strategy is a resilient integrated agribusiness model that encompasses the entire value chain of the agricultural commodity processing business, from origination and processing to branding, merchandising and distribution of a wide range of agricultural products. It has more than 300 manufacturing plants and an extensive distribution network covering China, India, Indonesia and some 50 other countries, and a workforce of over 90,000 people. Wilmar's portfolio of high quality processed agricultural products is the preferred choice of the food manufacturing industry, as well as the industrial and consumer food businesses. Its consumer-packed products occupy a leading share in its targeted markets. Through scale, integration and the logistical advantages of its business model, Wilmar is able to extract margins at every step of the value chain, thereby reaping operational synergies and cost efficiencies. Wilmar remains a firm advocate of sustainable growth and is committed to its role as a responsible corporate citizen.

 

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