CropEnergies acquires stake in biotech startup LXP
CropEnergies AG, acquired a stake in LXP Group GmbH at the end of May 2022. CropEnergies, a member of the Südzucker Group, secured nearly 20 percent of the Brandenburg-based biotech startup for about EUR 2 million as part of a capital increase.
LXP Group GmbH has developed a patented, energy-efficient process that enables mild digestion of lignocellular biomass, especially residual and waste materials such as cuttings, as well as wood residues such as sawdust, or straw. Advanced biofuels and biobased chemicals can then be produced from the cellulose and hemicellulose contained. In addition, the LXP process produces a high-purity, natural lignin that can be used to manufacture numerous products such as 3D printer ink, carbon fibers or phenolic resins.
For CropEnergies, the investment in LXP is a further step in implementing the company’s strategic realignment launched in 2021. Up to now, CropEnergies has primarily produced renewable ethanol from agricultural raw materials as a climate-friendly, domestic fuel substitute, as well as food and animal feed products. For some years now, ethanol has also been produced from residual materials. This branch of the business is to be further expanded. Dr. Stephan Meeder, CEO of CropEnergies AG: “The investment in LXP with a patented, state-of-the-art process opens up further opportunities for CropEnergies to expand its raw material base for the production of 2nd generation biofuels.” Of particular interest to CropEnergies is that the LXP technology can also be integrated into existing biorefineries for the production of renewable ethanol. “The production of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels are not contradictory. On the contrary, they go hand in hand. The new technologies benefit from the existing infrastructure of production plants and expertise,” Meeder added. The investment also opens up new opportunities for the new biobased chemicals division planned at CropEnergies. In January 2022, CropEnergies had reported plans to build a plant for renewable ethyl acetate.
“In 2022/2023, LXP Group GmbH plans to build a pilot plant using 15,000 tons of biomass and start producing cellulose and high-purity lignin. The strategic reinforcement by CropEnergies enables us to expand our technology much faster,” said Dr. Volker Bauer, Managing Director of LXP Group GmbH.
“We are very pleased to gain CropEnergies, a highly experienced market player, as a co-investor in order to now transfer the process developed by LXP into concrete industrial plants and thus come one step closer to our goal of economical and sustainable production of raw materials for the manufacture of biofuels and biochemicals,” commented Jürgen Kosch, CEO of MIG Capital AG.
LXP Group GmbH is venture capital financed. In addition to CropEnergies, investors currently include several funds of MIG Capital AG in Munich as well as the KfW banking group and several business angels.