American start-up Joule Unlimited, working in biofuels, announced today a strategic partnership with automaker Audi. In September 2011, the startup attracted funding from Rusnano and Anatoly Chubais joined Joule’s Board of Directors in early 2012.
The partnership agreement with Audi will help the startup to check the quality of produced fuel in comparison with other types of bioethanol. There is no information about the volume of financing received by Joule from the automaker, but it is known that the startup had already managed to raise $110M.
Furthermore, an additional objective of the partnership is to accelerate the commercialization of fuel Sunflow-E (ethanol) and Sunflow-D (diesel) and to start the sales in the global market. These fuels are produced with the help of sunlight and waste carbon dioxide (CO2), which goes perfectly with the concept of Audi to promote carbon-neutral vehicles.
According to Joule’s report, Audi considered the startup as an exclusive partner in the production of biologically derived diesel and ethanol fuel after a full assessment of proprietary technologies and business plans of Joule.
A demonstration plant for the production of bio-ethanol is being completed in Hobbs (New Mexico), its area is only 1.6 hectares which will make it possible to produce up to 230 000 liters from a hectare per year. With such efficiency, we can talk about 34 cents per liter of the final product. But this is only a plan and the price has not dropped below 56 cents per liter during laboratory testing, although company officials are optimistic and happy with the results.