Glucan Biorenewables
Wins International Renewables Chemistry Contest

Glucan Biorenewables takes the top spot at a worldwide renewable chemistry competition. This St. Louis-based startup is reaffirming that some of the country's best new #cleantech startups hail from the Midwest!

Glucan Biorenewables, a 2015 winner of the CET Clean Energy Challenge, took home the Renewable Chemistry Start-Up Award at the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, reaffirming Midwest and North American leadership in industrial biotechnology. Glucan Biorenewables was the only North American company to make the Top Five and was invited to present at the finals in Montreal on July 20. The award was presented by Sofinnova Partners, a global-leading renewable chemistry venture capital firm based in Paris, France.

“Sofinnova Partners organized this award to promote entrepreneurship in the sectors and encourage startups to tell their story. We are particularly happy with strong startup participation and public support and congratulate GlucanBio on being selected winners by an industry jury,” said Denis Lucquin, managing partner at Sofinnova Partners.

Glucan Biorenewables’ path to the finals included a public vote with more than 8,000 votes cast.  A jury of industry experts then selected the company as the winner after hearing four-minute elevator pitches from the top five companies, which included companies from Europe and Australia. Earlier this year, Glucan Biorenewables won a $50,000 award from CET’s Clean Energy Prize fund during CET’s Clean Energy Challenge, a nationally recognized accelerator pitch competition for clean energy innovation.

“It’s an honor to be the only finalist company from North America and to actually win the competition,” said Larry Clarke, CEO of Glucan Biorenewables. “This is a substantial accomplishment for us as a start-up, and also for St. Louis, Missouri and the entire Midwest. The Clean Energy Trust helped us get to this point through funding and guidance and I’m certain many more Midwestern start-ups will soon get international recognition as well. We’re very excited for what’s to come.”

Based in Missouri, Glucan Biorenewables commercializes a biomass conversion platform to deliver cost-disruptive sugars, drop-in chemicals, and biofuels. The patented technology created in a Madison, Wisconsin laboratory, uses novel organic liquid phase catalysis to fractionate biomass 100 times faster than aqueous-based systems, separating the cellulose and the hemicellulose into two streams. Both streams are further processed to produce furfural, a valuable chemical, and glucose at very competitive costs.

“As an early investor in Glucan Biorenewables, Clean Energy Trust is thrilled to see further market recognition of their breakthrough advancements in biomass conversion,” said Erik Birkerts, executive vice president and COO at Clean Energy Trust. “The potential of their technology in such a large and growing industry could have major market implications.”


About Glucan Biorenewables:

Glucan Biorenewables is commercializing a solvent-based biomass conversion platform that delivers cost-disruptive production of specialty and commodity drop-in chemicals. Key technology advantages include the ability to quickly fractionate biomass under mild process conditions, perform hydrolysis reactions 100X faster and dehydration reactions 30X faster than those conducted in water, and produce the solvent within the process from the feed stock biomass. For more information, visit


About Clean Energy Trust:

Clean Energy Trust (CET) fuels clean energy innovation in the Midwest. A Chicago-based nonprofit, CET helps launch, fund and grow Midwest clean energy companies to ensure a more prosperous, sustainable future for generations to come. CET does this through direct investment, commercialization assistance, mentorship, access to its broad partner network and the promotion of a supportive clean energy community and business climate. For more information, visit


By Emily Achler | August 5, 2015