Bunge, CoverCress form partnership to commercialize new biobased diesel feedstock
Bunge and CoverCress Inc. (CCI) announced April 26 a unique commercial partnership to bring a new renewable oilseed and animal feed crop to market. The agreement establishes a long-term commercial relationship between the two companies and supports the expansion of CCI’s CoverCress™ technology, a new winter oilseed crop that is ideal as a lower carbon intensity feedstock to help meet the growing demand for renewable fuels.
Through sophisticated breeding and gene editing, CCI has converted field pennycress, a winter annual weed, into the CoverCress crop that fits into existing corn and soybean rotations. Adding a new, marketable crop into rotation on existing land during winter can provide farmers with additional revenue while also offering the ecosystem benefits of a cover crop, which include decreasing nitrogen losses and improving overall soil health.
“Bunge is pleased to expand our relationship with CCI to continue to develop next-generation lower-carbon feedstocks, which will also help meet the growing demand for renewable fuels,” said Greg Heckman, CEO of Bunge. “We believe rotational cover crops will play a key role in our strategy in connection with the recently announced partnership with Chevron. Together, we share a commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon in our value chains.”
Bunge Ventures, the for-profit, global investment arm of Bunge, led a series B-1 financing round in CCI last year and recently increased its stake in CCI through a series C-1 round. Complementing the commercial agreement between Bunge and CCI, Chevron U.S.A. Inc., a subsidiary of Chevron Corp., also acquired an ownership stake in CCI through the series C-1 financing round. Bunge and Chevron have announced a joint venture that will produce feedstock to supply the rapidly growing renewable fuel industry.
“Chevron continues its efforts to build a leading renewable fuels business by investing in all parts of the value chain,” said Mark Nelson, executive vice president of downstream and chemicals for Chevron. “This investment in CCI advances our efforts to secure a diversified source of lower carbon intensity, reliable feedstocks for our forthcoming joint venture with Bunge.”
Under the commercial partnership between CCI and Bunge, CCI will supply CoverCress grain produced under contract with farmers to Bunge for processing. The strategic partnerships among Chevron, Bunge and CCI create a dedicated farm-to-fuel supply chain for the low carbon intensity oil feedstock produced from CoverCress grain.
“The advancements in the development and performance of our climate-smart agricultural product we have branded as CoverCress™, coupled with the expansion of our strategic partnerships with Bunge and Chevron, will accelerate the pace of our commercialization efforts with growers as well the value proposition of our company,” said Mike DeCamp, CEO of CCI. “Farmers are the key to enabling our CoverCress technology to make a difference to lowering the carbon intensity of diesel and jet fuel. That is why this agreement is so critical—it enables us and our farmer partners to earn more from the distinctive aspect of our ultra-low carbon grain than just a commodity value.”