Quebec-based Agrisoma Biosciences, a startup developing and selling Carinata seed, has raised $15.4 million in Series B funding to support the company’s global expansion.
Agrisoma believes oilseed Carinata is the only scalable agricultural feedstock for next-generation biofuels, particularly bio-based jet fuels (biojet). Its mission is to replace the use of food crops for biofuel production.
The global biojet market is currently reported to have up to 30 billion gallons of unsupplied demand; a market Agrisoma is convinced farmers can help fill by growing Carinata.
Steven Fabijanski, Agrisoma Biosciences’ president and CEO, said the Series B funding is being used to develop and execute new commercial programs in South America, as well as to initiate deliveries of commercial scale volumes of Carinata seed to new customers around the world.
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“By growing Carinata and producing oil for biojet fuel, it demonstrates how a technology-based company can have a global impact by reducing GHG emissions in an industry known for its significant carbon footprint,” said Andrée-Lise Méthot, founder and managing partner at Cycle Capital Management.
Agrisoma sells Carinata seed products under the Resonance brand name, using advanced crop improvement technologies to produce varieties that can grow across multiple production regions and weather systems. Agrisoma calls it a “drop-in” crop that requires very little operational change for existing grain farmers. And, as a cover crop, it can rejuvenate soils and protect them from erosion.
“Resonance brand carinata requires no specialized production and processing techniques or equipment. Farmers can plant it, care for it and harvest it with the equipment they already have. Grain companies can move it through systems already in place and processors can crush it in facilities that already exist,” reads the website.
Agrisoma is also selling Carinata protein – the leftover from oil extraction – as a low in fiber, high in protein animal feed ingredient, and the new funding will go towards developing and marketing this product globally.
As such, Fabijanski hopes to rapidly expand and scale up the crop’s production to service both the biofuels industry and the global demand for sustainably-produced protein for animal feed.
“The addition of new shareholder expertise with a focus on sustainability, the environment, and global business experience, along with additional support from current shareholders highlights our opportunity and progress with the commercialization of Carinata,” he said.
Catherine Vu, chief financial officer at Groupe Lune Rouge has joined the board of directors at Agrisoma.
“We are very proud to be associated with Agrisoma and to contribute to the development of the company,” she said, highlighting the Carinata development as a sustainable solution to renewable energy and climate change.
In addition to being used to fuel the world’s first 100% biojet flight in 2012, the crop is acknowledged for its resilience under demanding growing conditions, beyond the capability of other more conventional farm crops.