Virent and HCL CleanTech Receive Grant to Demonstrate Cellulosic Sugars as Feedstocks for 'Drop-In' Biofuels and Bioproducts

By Virent Energy Systems Inc. And Hcl Cleantech, PRNE
Monday, January 3, 2011

BIRD Energy Grant Will Support Virent's Conversion of HCL CleanTech's Pine Tree Sugars Into Hydrocarbon Fuels and Products That can be Sustainable, Cost-effective, and Compatible With Existing Infrastructure

MADISON, Wisconsin and HERZELIA, Israel, January 4, 2011 - Virent Energy Systems Inc. and HCL CleanTech announced today
that they have been awarded a $900,000 grant from BIRD Energy, a program for
U.S. - Israel joint renewable energy development funded by the U.S.
Department of Energy, the Israeli Ministry of National Infrastructures, and
the BIRD Foundation. The grant supports almost half of the $2.1 million total
project cost.

The project's objective is to address the key hurdles limiting
the market acceptance of biofuels and bioproducts made from cellulosic
feedstocks: price, performance, and infrastructure compatibility.

The project combines HCL CleanTech's proprietary
lignocellulosic conversion technologies that produce cost-effective non-food
sugars with Virent's innovative BioForming(R) technology that converts plant
sugars into hydrocarbon molecules like those now refined from petroleum. HCL
CleanTech's pioneering technology builds on a proven industrial process,
significantly improving the economics of converting lignocellulosic biomass
into refined sugars, de-acidified lignin and tall oils. The process chemistry
works at low temperature and atmospheric pressure, resulting in very few
degradation products and significantly lower energy and water consumption.
These sugars can be utilized by Virent's process to make fungible
hydrocarbons that can be used as chemicals or seamlessly blended to make
premium 'drop in' fuels for car, truck, train, and air transportation.
Virent's fuel products can readily enter the market using existing pipelines
to power today's vehicles at high blend rates.

"Economically converting plentiful cellulosic biomass into
renewable, fungible hydrocarbon fuels and products will enable broad market
acceptance and is the most realistic alternative to displace petroleum and
create a clean energy transportation sector in the coming years," said Lee
, Virent CEO. "Virent has proven it can transform cellulosic, non-food
sugars into environmentally superior hydrocarbon fuels with the same energy
content and performance as petroleum fuels. Utilizing HCL CleanTech's
cost-effective biomass hydrolysis technology to provide inexpensive
cellulosic sugar feedstocks may be a key component of a complete and
sustainable biofuels solution."

Sugars processed at HCL CleanTech's demonstration plant
operating at Southern Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina will be
sent to Virent's facility in Madison, Wisconsin for conversion into biofuels
and biochemicals. As part of the BIRD project, HCL CleanTech will also
provide pine sugars to a leading biopolymer producer for evaluating
fermentation into hydrocolloids that historically are produced from cane or
corn sugars for use in a broad range of personal care, food and beverage

"We expect to have the sugars ready for Virent before the New Year and
are confident the integration with Virent and the leading biopolymer producer
will create new opportunities in the bio-fuels and bio-products space,"
said Eran Baniel CEO of HCL CleanTech. Bob Jansen, Head of HCL CleanTech
Engineering added: "we built the demo unit operations at a size that will
allow us to scale up directly to a small commercial facility, which we plan
to integrate into a paper mill by the end of 2012."

About Virent Energy Systems

Virent's BioForming(R) process is a leading technology for the
production of sustainable advanced biofuels, including biogasoline, diesel,
and jet fuel, and many chemicals. Virent currently produces its renewable
hydrocarbon products using feedstocks as diverse as sugar cane, sugar beets,
woody biomass, switchgrass, bagasse, or corn stover. The process has won
numerous technology and innovation awards including the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge and the World
Economic Forum's Technology Pioneer awards. Virent has 95 employees and a
state of the art catalytic biorefining development facility located in
Madison, Wisconsin. Virent counts premier, global companies Cargill, Shell,
and Honda, among its investors. The BioForming technology is based on the
patented Aqueous Phase Reforming process. To learn more, visit:

About HCL CleanTech

HCL CleanTech Ltd is commercializing innovative biomass
hydrolysis and extraction technologies that dramatically improve the
economics of accessing lignocellulosic sugars for conversion into biofuels
and bioproducts. The technology generates sugar yields of up to 98 percent of
the theoretical sugars from any lignocellulosic material. High sugar
concentrations are refined and have been successfully converted into a number
of biofuels and bio-products. HCL CleanTech has developed a process to
de-acidify the lignin using a proprietary washing system which uses no water,
recovers the hydrochloric acid at high concentrations, and produces
unadulterated lignin as dry flakes with low chloride content. During the
process the tall oils are separated and can be used for the production of
bio-diesel and other products. HCL CleanTech is venture funded by Burrill &
Company, Khosla Ventures, and a group of investors led by Zohar Gilon. For
more information, visit:

About the BIRD Foundation

The mission of the BIRD (Binational Industrial Research and
Development) Foundation is to stimulate, promote and support industrial R&D
of mutual benefit to the U.S. and Israel. The BIRD Foundation approves
funding for approximately 20 projects each year. During its 33 years, the
BIRD Foundation has invested in more than 800 projects, which have yielded
revenues of about $8 billion. "BIRD Energy" is a program specifically for
U.S. - Israel joint renewable energy and energy efficiency developments,
funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Israeli Ministry of
National Infrastructures. The program aims to select projects that have
significant commercial potential and project outcomes that lead to
commercialization. Companies apply jointly and must demonstrate the combined
capabilities and infrastructure to define, develop, manufacture, sell and
support an innovative product based on industrial R&D. For more information,
please visit:

    For further information, contact:

    At Virent:

    Kelly Morgan
    Marketing Manager

    Notes to Editors:

    Recent Virent press releases are available at:

    Virent press kit materials and images are available at:

    Virent Energy Systems, Inc.
    3571 Anderson St.
    Madison, WI 53704
    Phone: +1-608-663-0228
    Fax: +1-608-663-1630


    At HCL CleanTech:

    Eran Baniel

    HCL CleanTech's Press releases are available at:

    HCL CleanTech, Ltd.
    Address: 6 Galgale Haplada Herzelia,
    Mail address: P.O.Box 12424 Herzelia 46733
    Tel: +972-9-9515561
    Cell: +972-544-358833
    Fax: +972-9-9516162
    Web Site:

At Virent: Kelly Morgan, Marketing Manager, +1-608-237-8603, Notes to Editors: Recent Virent press releases are available at:, Virent press kit materials and images are available at:, Virent Energy Systems, Inc., 3571 Anderson St., Madison, WI 53704, Phone: +1-608-663-0228, Fax: +1-608-663-1630, Internet:, HCL CleanTech, Ltd., Address: 6 Galgale Haplada Herzelia, Mail address: P.O.Box 12424 Herzelia 46733, Tel: +972-9-9515561, Cell: +972-544-358833, Fax: +972-9-9516162, E-mail: eran at, Web Site:, At HCL CleanTech: Eran Baniel, CEO, +972-544-358833

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