Mitsui and Inbicon sign first licensing agreement to refine biomass into ethanol

Mitsui wants to apply the technology in the palm oil industry

Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES), one of Japan’s leading heavy industries, and Inbicon, the Danish pioneer of cellulosic ethanol technology, today announced the signing of a license agreement for the Inbicon Biomass Refinery technology.

The agreement grants Mitsui the right to build a number of biomass refineries in Southeast Asia using Inbicon’s technology. Mitsui intends to apply the technology in the palm oil industry, where waste products from palm oil production can be converted into ethanol, solid biofuel for energy production, and animal feed. The agreement marks the first sale of licensing for Inbicon.

Shunichi Yamashita, Director of Mitsui, said: “With the license agreement, we have taken an important step towards the establishing of a plant engineering business for the production of second-generation ethanol in Southeast Asia. We have already committed considerable resources to the development of this new business. Furthermore, we are expecting to expand the cooperation with Inbicon into other markets.”

Niels Henriksen, CEO of Inbicon, said that “this is the culmination of our year-long cooperation with Mitsui, which started with our testing of palm waste as a feedstock. Throughout 2009 we developed the relationship between their people and ours, and we are very proud to have Mitsui as our first licensee. Signing this agreement positions Mitsui as a frontrunner in the field. We consider it a significant step forward into a long-lasting collaboration.”

“It’s also an important milestone in the commercialization of Inbicon technology. With the latest developments in enzyme technology from leading enzyme developers Danisco, Genencor and Novozymes, we are now looking at making large-scale production of second-generation ethanol truly practical in countries around the world.”

Facts about Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding
Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. is one of the biggest and leading heavy industries in Japan, headquartered in Tokyo. Its activities are not limited to shipbuilding, but also include the environment, energy, production, mechatronics, information, logistics, industrial plants, medical science, and leisure sectors. Established in 1917. Capital: 44,385 million yen; sales total (consolidated in FY 2007): 659,215 million yen; employees (consolidated): 9,910 (as of March 31, 2008).
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Facts about Inbicon
Inbicon A/S develops technology for conversion and refining of soft ligno-cellulosic biomass into fuel, feed, and green chemistry products. The company has operated a pilot plant since 2003, and in December 2009 the first Inbicon Biomass Refinery was put into operation in Kalundborg, Denmark, to demonstrate the technology. The plant converts wheat straw into fuel ethanol, animal feed, and lignin pellets for energy production. Inbicon is a subsidiary of DONG Energy A/S.


Inbicon, press release, 2010-02-25.


Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding (MES)