Royal Dutch Shell, the largest oil company in Europe, and Cosan Limited, the largest sugar and ethanol processor in Brazil, have formally launched a multi-billion dollar joint venture that will become the largest producer of ethanol made from sugar cane.  The joint venture, called Raizen, will operate in Brazil.

Cosan has invested $3.3 billion and Shell has invested $1.62 billion in the venture.  The investments include a 15.7 percent stake in enzyme producer Codexis Inc., a developer of "super-enzymes" for the faster conversion of plant waste into transport fuels, and part of Shell’s interest in Iogen Energy, which uses enzymes to break down plant waste into ethanol.

Raizen combines Shell's advanced technological and retail expertise with Cosan's experience in the commercial production of biofuels.  Raizen intends to distribute more than 2 billion liters of sugar cane-based ethanol and more than 20 billion liters of other transport and industrial fuels per year through 4,500 Shell-branded service stations.  Raizen also plans to export more ethanol to other key markets in the future.

Brazil is the clear leader in biofuels and projects that they will constitute more than 40% of its transport fuel mix by 2030.  Brazilians already have a choice of pure ethanol or a blend of gasoline and ethanol. Almost 90% of new cars in Brazil can run on either fuel type.

John Howley 
Woodbridge, New Jersey

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