As reported on the Stellenbosch University News Blog:

A new biofuels technology company, Stellenbosch Biomass Technologies (SBMT) was launched on Friday 2 July in Sandton. SBMT, which is proud to be asssociated with Stellenbosch University as a research partner, has the ability and expertise to lead Southern Africa towards a sustainable energy future.

The South African based SBMT holds the rights to commercialise and adapt the latest conversion technology developed by USA-based Mascoma Technologies company.

Stellenbosch University is the SBMT research partner for technology improvement.

Once the necessary investment is secured, the company hopes to set up their first demonstration scale plant within the next two years, to demonstrate the full-scale commercial viability of the venture.

SBMT provides low-cost, high-efficiency conversion technology that can ensure substantial savings in capital and operational expenses in the production of cellulosic ethanol.

Cellulosic ethanol is a forerunner in the production of second generation biofuels from non-food lignocellulosic plant material sources, including wood and agricultural residue such as sugarcane bagasse.

“By producing fuel using this technology, we can help to reduce green house gas emissions and move Southern Africa towards a greener economy,” founding member and director Prof Emile van Zyl believes. “Africa needs sustainable and environmentally safe options that do not threaten our food production or natural vegetation”.

Through research done at Stellenbosch University in the past few years, SBMT founding members have contributed their share of expertise in developing the current Mascoma Technology. “Therefore it is apt that this technology is now also made available locally through SBMT,” says Prof Van Zyl.

According to Prof Van Zyl, the company not only hopes to produce ethanol commercially on a full-scale, but also hopes to foster skills development, the building of human resource capacity and community involvement through the biofuels industry.

Media enquiries:
Prof Emile van Zyl, director of Stellenbosch Biomass Technologies or 083 630 0087

Our strategic partners:

  • Mascoma Corporation is rated as one of the Top 10 most innovative and achieving companies in the bioenergy sector worldwide. The company is committed to developing environmentally sustainable, low cost, low carbon biofuels. Its Consolidated Bioprocessing method converts non-food biomass feedstocks into cellulosic ethanol through the use of a proprietary process that eliminates the need for costly enzymes and additives. For more information, visit
  • Stellenbosch University is home to various sustainable energy research initiatives, such as the SANERI Energy Research Chair in Biofuels and Other Alternative Clean Fuels in the Department of Microbiology. For more information, visit or

This news also made several local newspapers:

Other news reports include:

News24.comStrategyEyeAlternative Energy AfricaCreamer Media’s Research Channel

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