Maple Leaf to market cellulosic ethanol technology in China

October 14, 2010

CALGARY: Maple Leaf Reforestation Inc. has signed an exclusive agency agreement with the US Group, a private US ethanol technology patent holder.

It allows Calgary-based Maple Leaf, a wholly owned foreign enterprise focused on reforestation projects in China, to market and sell products and patents that produce cellulosic ethanol in China.

The agreement also includes certain rights to a patented process for creating enzymes.

Under the deal’s terms, Maple Leaf receive 5% of what’s paid by Chinese firms it introduces to the US Group.

Cellulosic ethanol is part of a worldwide move toward second generation bio-fuel using agricultural and forest waste as feedstocks, but enzymes are required to break cellulose down into sugars, which are converted into ethanol.

The US Group’s process generates more ethanol per ton of feedstock than other processes, and requires less water, heat and pressure. The bio-fuel costs less than $1 per gallon to produce (ethanol selling price in China is presently US$1.65 per gallon) and emits 84% less greenhouse gas than fossil fuels even after accounting for the energy needed to produce and transport the feedstock. It generates 7.7 times more energy than is required to produce the fuel compared to corn ethanol, which typically generates 1.3 times more energy than is used to produce it.

China, the third-largest ethanol producer after the US and Brazil, has announced a US$736 billion investment plan for clean energy in the next decade.