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By Robert Rapier on Nov 16, 2006 with no responses

Who Supplies the Most Biofuel?

I learned something interesting today. If you had asked me who is the world’s largest distributor of bio-fuels, I would have probably guessed ADM. It looks like I might have been wrong. Here is a press release that came across my desk today:

Shell and Codexis to Explore Next-Generation Bio-Fuels

HOUSTON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ — Shell Oil Products US, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Company, and Codexis Inc., a privately held biotechnology company, announced today they would launch a collaboration to explore enhanced methods of converting biomass to bio-fuels. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Shell is committed to leading the development of second-generation bio- fuels that offer lower well-to-wheel CO2 production and enhanced performance,” David Sexton, President, Shell Oil Products US, said. “We are exploring the application of Codexis’ proprietary technologies to produce alternative fuels from renewable, sustainable sources.”

“Our proven biocatalytic approach should provide the critical pathway to developing economically feasible alternative transportation fuels from renewable resources,” Alan Shaw, Ph.D., Codexis President and Chief Executive Officer, said. “We are pleased to be partnering with Shell, a world leader in energy, to undertake this important effort.”

Shell has been involved in developing bio-fuels for more than 30 years, and believes it is the world’s largest distributor of transport bio-fuels today. The company sold nearly 800 million gallons (3 billion liters) of bio- fuel in 2005, mostly in the United States and Brazil. Shell also markets fuels containing bio-components in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Philippines, Sweden and Thailand.

So, Shell sold 800 million gallons of biofuel in 2005. I will have to check to see where ADM ranked. But it is funny that as much grief as oil companies get, and as often as they are accused of lobbying against biofuels, that Shell is one of the world leaders. That’s why I tell people not to write off oil companies if alternatives start to make economic sense. Oil companies are primarily energy companies, and they will make biodiesel just as quickly as they will make conventional diesel, if that’s what the market favors.