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Cobalt and Rhodia to build demo plant in Latin America

Bio-based chemicals developer Cobalt Technologies and Rhodia, a specialty chemicals company, will together build and operate a biobutanol demonstration plant in Brazil.

The two companies are working together to eventually construct a commercial-scale biorefinery. This facility will be fitted with Cobalt's technology, producing bio n-butanol from Brazilian bagasse and other local, non-food feedstocks in Latin America.

'This agreement puts us on a clear path towards commercialisation, which will result in the development of the first commercial-scale biorefinery using bagasse as a feedstock for the production of biobutanol,' says Bob Mayer, CEO of Cobalt Technologies.

The JV plans to break ground on the demo facility later this month, moving to a mill site in early 2013 for integration testing. Operational testing at the plant is expected to be completed by mid-2013.

Vincent Kamel, president of Rhodia Coatis Business Unit, says the continued partnership will 'capitalise on the massive market opportunity for bio n-butanol in Latin America and beyond'.