Enerkem, Myriant top Lux Research Q3 list

By Erin Voegele | October 22, 2013

Enerkem Inc. and Myriant Corp. are two of the companies highlighted by Lux Research in its recently released top-10 list of companies profiled during the third quarter of 2013. The list was selected from a group of 415 companies profiled during the quarter. According to Lux, the performance of Enerkem, Myriant and the other top-10 companies points to an opportunity for near-term growth.

Lux Research Analyst Andrew Soare said that facility status was one factor considered in selecting the list of top companies profiled during the quarter. “We chose the companies based on who had new facilities scaling up, or near completion that could provide significant growth opportunities,” he said, noting that the production of a novel product was also a factor.

Enerkem was giving a positive rating by Lux. The company began converting municipal waste to ethanol at its pilot plant in June 2012, and is expected to begin producing cellulosic ethanol at its 10 million gallon commercial facility next year. Information released by Lux notes that the company has turned the economics of fuel production on its head by getting paid $45 for every ton of waste it converts into ethanol.

Soare said that Enerkem’s feedstock focus on waste and the associated tipping feeds that it receives for its waste feedstock were a big part of its positive rating. “The alternative fuels industry is in a constant search for cheap feedstocks,” he said. “Enerkem, unlike other waste-to-fuel companies, is producing some fuel today at its demonstration-scale facility, and the first commercial will be a 10x scale-up.”

Soare also pointed to the company’s business relationship with Waste Management. “Enerkem has a major partnership with WM, which can provide it feedstock access and capital to build facilities,” he said.

Myriant was also awarded a positive rating. According to Soare, Myriant is beginning to produce biobased succinic acid at its commercial facility, which means its potential and timelines to significant revenue are near term. “[The company is] producing a chemical that can play into a range of end markets,” he said. “Also, like Enerkem, Myriant has strong partnerships—with PTT Chemical, Showa Denko and others.”

While this particular list focused on near-term growth in capacity of fuels from novel feedstocks, Soare noted there are many other strong companies in the biorefining sector that are in a much earlier stage of development. These companies are working on technologies that could be disruptive five or 10 years from now.