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Shell and Virent expand collaboration

Royal Dutch Shell plc announced that Shell has taken an equity stake in Virent Energy Systems, Inc., (Virent) and begun a joint technology program seeking to convert plant sugars directly into diesel fuel. Since 2007, Shell and Virent have been conducting a joint research and development effort to make biogasoline from plant sugars, culminating late last year in the start-up of a pilot plant. As part of an expanded relationship, Shell has become an investor in Virent and taken a seat on Virent’s board of directors. The existing joint research and development agreement will also be expanded to include research into the production of diesel fuel. Traditionally, biodiesel has been made from vegetable oils. This new joint technology program will investigate Virent’s BioForming(R) process as a means for converting plant sugars directly into diesel. (June 9, 2010)