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    BP, Verenium Team for Cellulosic Ethnaol

    Joint venture will develop and commercialize the alternative fuel from non-food sources, with production planned for 2012.

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- BP and Verenium Corp. formed a 50-50 joint venture, based here, to develop and commercialize cellulosic ethanol from non-food feedstocks, and will serve as the commercial entity for the deployment of the cellulosic ethanol technology being developed under the first phase of the BP-Verenium partnership, which was previously announced in August 2008, BP stated.

    "This collaboration represents a critical next step in positioning Verenium and BP at the forefront of commercializing cellulosic biofuels in the United States," Carlos A. Riva, president and CEO of Verenium, said in a statement. "The creation of this joint venture brings together innovative and experienced developers, designers, engineers, operators and managers capable of realizing the potential of this technology. This is a true convergence of industrial biotechnology and energy production processes, which will allow us to deliver cleaner, more sustainable fuels."

    The companies agreed to commit $45 million to the joint venture, which has a goal of furthering the development of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facility located in Highlands County, Fla., with an anticipated groundbreaking there in 2010, and production expected to begin in 2012.

    "This next stage in our relationship with Verenium demonstrates our real commitment to making cellulosic ethanol a reality in the U.S. fuels market in the near term," Sue Ellerbusch, president of BP Biofuels North America said in a statement. "BP and Verenium together have the technological know-how, engineering capability and market expertise required to demonstrate that we can deliver better, more sustainable biofuels, more quickly."

    The joint venture will be led and supported by a team of employees from both BP and Verenium, and will be governed by a board with equal representation from both parent companies, BP stated.

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