Cobalt Technologies closes US$20M Series D funding round that will allow company to build 470,000-gallon/year biobutanol demonstration plant at cellulosic biorefinery in Alpena, Michigan

Yohana Valdez

Yohana Valdez

May 3, 2011 – PR Newswire

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California , May 2, 2011 (press release) – Cobalt Technologies, a leader in commercializing biobutanol as a renewable chemical and fuel, announced today that it has closed a $20M Series D funding round.  The round was led by The Whittemore Collection Ltd., the investment vehicle of Parsons & Whittemore, formerly one of the world's largest manufacturers of market pulp and builder of some 60 pulp mills in 28 countries.  All of Cobalt's current venture investors also participated, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Life Sciences Partners (LSP), @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company.

The additional capital will enable Cobalt to build out its new 470,000 gallon per year demonstration plant in Alpena, Michigan, which will be the world's first cellulosic biorefinery for the production of the industrial chemical n-butanol. In addition, the funding will enable Cobalt to expand its network of strategic relationships, to begin development of its first commercial facilities and to progress its partnership with the U.S. Navy to develop bio jet fuel.

"This round validates the significant progress we have made in commercializing cellulosic biobutanol and demonstrates the real market opportunity that our investors see," said Rick Wilson, Ph.D., and CEO of Cobalt Technologies. "In addition to the generous financial support provided by The Whittemore Collection Ltd., we now have the world's most experienced builder of biomass-based businesses on our board supporting us in developing our global enterprise."

Cobalt Technologies has developed a continuous process that takes non-food feedstocks like sugar cane bagasse, woody biomass, palm waste and glycerol from biodiesel production and converts it into renewable biobutanol.  Biobutanol is a valuable industrial chemical that is widely used in paints and other coatings, and is a platform molecule that can be converted into other valuable chemicals such as 2 ethyl hexanol and 1-butene and also converted into renewable jet fuel.

"We were attracted to Cobalt because the technology delivers a dramatic cost advantage relative to petroleum-based chemicals and the company has a solid plan for scale-up and deployment with a great team.  Strategically, we believe the best economic use of biomass besides producing pulp is for use in high-value renewable chemicals such as n-butanol, where Cobalt is the emerging leader," said George Landegger, Chairman of Parsons & Whittemore.

About Cobalt Technologies

Cobalt Technologies is a leader in commercializing biobutanol as a renewable chemical and fuel.  Cobalt Technologies replaces petrochemicals and petroleum with a highly profitable and renewable alternative – biobutanol. The company's technology and engineering platform offers a continuous process to efficiently convert diverse non-food feedstocks – such as sugar cane bagasse and waste wood – into biobutanol. Engineered to achieve low costs through using low-cost biomass feedstocks, high productivity and energy efficiency, Cobalt is making biobutanol and its derivatives a cost effective substitute to petroleum-based materials.

Cobalt is based in Mountain View, CA. Cobalt is backed by leading investors in the cleantech sector, including Pinnacle Ventures, Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund, VantagePoint Capital Partners, The Whittemore Collection Ltd., Life Sciences Partners (LSP), @Ventures, Harris & Harris and Burrill and Company.

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About The Whittemore Collection Ltd.

The Whittemore Collection Ltd. is the investment vehicle of Parsons & Whittemore, Inc.  Parsons & Whittemore, a privately held company based in Rye Brook, N.Y., was founded in 1853 and acquired by Karl F. Landegger in 1944. Throughout its history, the company has been recognized as a leading turnkey engineer/builder of pulp and paper mills, and has owned and operated some of the world's largest and most efficient pulp facilities, such as the Alabama River Pulp and Alabama Pine Pulp mills in Monroe County, Alabama.

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