Codexis, Amyris, Husk Power Systems, BTG-BTL, and Thermya Top Alternative Fuel Company Rankings
Alternative fuel companies have accounted for both big-ticket IPOs and spectacular collapses in 2011; Lux Research rates the field to pick the winners
Stellar successes and stunning failures mark the alternative fuels industry’s rapid progress toward maturity. To see which companies are best positioned to prosper, Lux Research applied the Lux Innovation Grid to rate technology developers in the alternative fuels field, in a report titled, “Refining Alternative Fuels Innovators into Winners and Losers.”
“The alternative fuels space is hitting puberty, painfully. Some companies are reaching scale and raking in revenues, while others are going bankrupt, missing milestones, laying off employees, and squandering millions,” said Andrew Soare, Lux Analyst and the lead author of the report. “Though risk remains high, the reward for finding a successful alternative fuel partner means a disruptive new technology, new feedstock, or a new fuel for the corporate benefactor.”
To evaluate the risks and rewards in the industry, Lux Research used its proprietary Lux Innovation Grid framework to analyze company performance on Technical Value and Business Execution, based on over 450 interviews with key stakeholders. Among their conclusions:
- Enzyme players Codexis and Novozymes are best positioned to dominate pretreatment. Pretreatment technologies – like enzymes, acid, and supercritical water – “unlock” sugars from lignocellulosic biomass, and are the key to unlocking long term growth in the bio-based fuels industry. Enzymes are the approach of choice right now, though acid hydrolysis company HCl CleanTech offers opportunity. Unproven Proterro and Renmatix have technical promise but are kept in check by business reality.
- Bioprocessing companies epitomize flexibility – a necessary trait in this industry. Using synthetic biology and other techniques, developers can design microorganisms to produce compounds chemically identical to petroleum-derived fuels.Amyris, Solazyme, and Gevo are the leaders in this segment; all made initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2011, LanzaTech, Aemetis, and ZeaChem wait in the wings, and Qteros and Mascoma are losing ground.
- Gasification, pyrolysis, and torrefaction produce few winners each. These alternative methods for converting waste or biomass into fuels are less populated, but each does offer a few strong players. In gasification, Enerkem and Agnion dominate, fueled by investments from Waste Management; Agilyx, BTG-BTL, and Ensyn are the dominant players in pyrolysis. Thermya uses torrefaction – preparing biomass and waste for pelleting and co-firing with coal – to earn similarly high marks.
The report, titled “Refining Alternative Fuels Innovators into Winners and Losers,” is part of the Lux Research Alternative Fuels Intelligence service.
About Lux Research
Lux Research provides strategic advice and on-going intelligence for emerging technologies. Leaders in business, finance and government rely on us to help them make informed strategic decisions. Through our unique research approach focused on primary research and our extensive global network, we deliver insight, connections and competitive advantage to our clients. Visit www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.
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