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BP finds new $90m biofuels friend

For a company whose name is dangerously close to the proper word for your gooch, (look it up on urban dictionary if you’re unsure – or don’t, if you’re at work and someone’s looking over your shoulder) biofuels bunch Verenium knows how to pull in the readies.

The ethanol maker has struck a deal with plain old petrol maker BP for $90m in funding for a new partnership entre le deux. Yowzer.

The funding, says the fuel twosome, is all about the “creation of a strategic partnership to accelerate the development and commercialisation of cellulosic ethanol”. Greenbang thought cellulosic ethanol was doing very nicely when it comes to development and commercialisation, thank you very much, but she’s not sitting on $90m so it just goes to show what she knows.

And what will BP get for its investment in the union (which is, by the way, targeting “environmentally sound” ethanol, whatever that may mean)? Why, “rights to current and future technology held within the partnership,” naturally.

Here’s how the cash breaks down, from the horse’s mouth:

— $45m, payable in three installments over the next 12 months, for broad access to Verenium’s cellulosic ethanol technology platform, production facilities, and employee scientific knowledge and expertise. At closing, Verenium will receive the first $24.5m of this amount.

— $2.5m per month to co-fund Verenium’s various scientific and technical initiatives within the cellulosic ethanol field. The companies’ joint efforts in the field will be directed by a Joint Development Agreement, the initial term of which is 18 months.

Yep, you heard it right – after the first 18 months together, Verenium and BP could turn the partnership into a joint venture proper with a view to some commercial scale work.

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