This article from Reuters says the Hunt Texas oil empire will buy an unspecified amount of the product from Khosla’s first plant, still to be built in Columbus, Mississippi:
KiOR says its “Biomass Catalytic Cracking Process,” aided by a catalyst developed from a precursor company called BIOeCON, can aid the process of pyrolysis: super-heating organic matter in the absence of oxygen to break it down into a substitute for crude oil. The company was created in 2007 as a joint venture with Khosla Ventures, which provided the company’s $1.4 million Series A round.
KiOR has since raised $40 million as part of a planned $95 million Series B round of funding, and is seeking $75 million in Mississippi state grants for its Columbus plant. The Mississippi cash was dependent on KiOR landing a contract with a refinery; KiOR’s process doesn’t yield a final fuel product like ethanol or biodiesel, but rather a “biocrude” very similar to crude oil, which then can be refined into various products like gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. The deal with Hunt Refining would appear to help move KiOR’s negotiations for the Mississippi grant package closer to fruition, though the company didn’t mention that in its Wednesday press release.
As you might remember from Joanna’s post last month, KiOR is seeking $1 billion in federal Department of Energy loan guarantees and hopes to use the money to build four plants able to crank out 250 million gallons a year.