Nufarm Limited’s (ASX:NUF) parent Nufarm group has acquired energy cane assets and entered into a long-term technology access and license agreement with GranBio Investimentos SA group, a leading Brazilian industrial biotechnology group, to accelerate the development and global expansion of energy cane.
The Nufarm group has acquired GranBio group’s energy cane production assets, including germplasm, breeding materials and related know how, products in various stages of development, and customer contracts, for US$25 million.
Energy cane is a novel cane crop specifically developed to create a greater than 150% increase in biomass compared to conventional sugar cane and is a step change in biofuel and bioelectricity generation.
Increased global demand for biofuels is being driven by the need to achieve global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. Nuseed, a division of Nufarm, plans to develop energy cane as a renewable, advanced agricultural feedstock for supply to downstream energy partners.
The acquisition and related exclusive longterm technology access and license agreement gives GranBio rights in the second-generation (2G) field.
This agreement is a tangible example of Nufarm’s growth strategy in action – investing in sustainable innovative technologies that help growers get more from their land,” Nufarm CEO, Greg Hunt said.
“This acquisition bolsters Nuseed’s Value Beyond Yield strategy. The acquisition is expected to deliver modest underlying EBITDA1 in the short-term however it has significant potential to contribute to Nufarm’s earnings growth over the medium to long-term as global expansion ramps up to meet demand for sustainable biofuels.”
Energy cane has been developed over the past 10 years by GranBio from traditional hybrid plant breeding focused on improving its energy output equation.
The result is a more robust cane, with higher fibre content and productive potential which is ideal for the production of biofuels and biochemicals, and for the generation and/or cogeneration of bioelectricity.
Energy cane has been developed specifically for bioenergy production and has been bred to be planted in lower-quality soil areas not traditionally suitable for primary agriculture crops where it is unlikely to compete with food crops and will provide farmers in more marginal areas a means to improve their economic productivity.
Energy cane provides a significant opportunity to enable advanced agriculture feedstock generation for energy transition, including:
- A significant boost in productivity for the existing Brazilian sugar cane biofuel industry. Research indicates energy cane can increase ethanol output by 20-30% per hectare and increase bioelectricity generation by 2-4 times. Brazil currently produces 32 billion litres2 of ethanol annually – almost entirely from sugar cane – with expected demand to increase to over 40 billion litres by 2030.
- The combination of energy cane with advanced 2G processing can generate net-zero ethanol, biogas, and bioelectricity as well as green industrial products and new low-carbon feedstocks for SAF. Brazil is currently the largest sugar cane market in the world. Nuseed intends to commence work in Brazil and expand energy cane R&D into other large existing cane growing countries, including the US, Australia and Asia.