R BioPetroleum, Inc. (HRBP), a Hawaii-based and -founded renewable biofuels company, has announced that it will acquire Shell’s shareholding in Cellana, a joint venture between Shell and HRBP. On January 31, 2011, HRBP will become the sole owner of Cellana, including its six-acre demonstration facility in Kona, Hawaii.
In 2007, HRBP and Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the international energy company, formed Cellana as a separate joint venture to build and operate a demonstration facility to grow marine algae and produce vegetable oil for conversion into biofuel. To date, it is one of the most advanced operational demonstration facilities among algae-to-biofuel organizations and companies in the United States.
“The acquisition of Cellana represents a significant opportunity for HRBP and its corporate and project stakeholders, including the University of Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, Maui Electric Company, the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts consortium, the U.S. Department of Energy and others,” said Ed Shonsey, HRBP CEO.
“We will continue to operate Cellana’s Kona demonstration facility and to continuously improve the economics for growing marine algae using HRBP’s patented process,” continued Shonsey. “Based on HRBP’s and Cellana’s results to date, we believe this technology holds great potential for the economical production of algae and algae-derived products for applications within the aquaculture and animal feed markets, as well as for the production of algal oil for conversion into biofuels.”
To support the transition Shell has agreed to provide short-term funding to advance and focus the algae technology development program. HRBP will further develop the technology at the Kona demonstration facility with the objective of first commercial deployment at the Ma’alaea site the company has selected on Maui, Hawaii.