By Shawn McCarthy
The Globe and Mail
TORONTO -- Royal Dutch Shell and Iogen Corp. have killed a
plan to build a next-generation biofuel plant in Canada, and
the Ottawa-based technology company is laying off 150
In a release Monday, the two partners said they will
continue with a smaller-scale research project to development cellulosic
ethanol from agricultural waste.
"Shell continues to explore multiple pathways to find a
commercial solution for the production of advanced biofuels on an industrial scale,"
Iogen said in a release.
"But the company will not pursue the project it has had under development
to build a larger scale cellulosic ethanol facility in southern
Iogen was once considered a world-leader in the development of
ethanol from agricultural waste but
has been unable to solve engineering problems that stand in the
way of a commercially viable, large-scale plant.
The company was singled out for mention in Finance Minister
Jim Flaherty's 2007 budget, when the government devoted
$500-million to Sustainable Development Technology Canada to assist in
commercialization of next-generation biofuels that use agricultural,
forestry and municipal waste, rather than corn and wheat to
make ethanol and biodiesel.
Iogen never tapped the fund, though other biofuel companies,
notably Montreal-based Enerkem, have benefited.
In June 2010, Shell and Iogen announced they would increase
investment in their joint venture company, Iogen Energy, to
accelerate development of the cellulosic ethanol at its
demonstration plant in Ottawa.
But at the time, the partners signaled the agreement would
last only two years.
Iogen said its successful enzymes business will not be
affected by decision to scale back the ethanol activity, and that it will
expand its offering of enzymes used in the biofuels business.
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