ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, US — Global oilseed processing leader Bunge is partnering with CoverCress Inc. (CCI) to bring a new renewable oilseed and animal feed crop to commercial market based on CCI’s CoverCress technology that is a lower carbon intensity feedstock to help meet growing renewable fuels demand.
In its April 26 announcement, Bunge said CCI has used sophisticated breeding and gene editing to convert field pennycress, a winter annual weed, into the CoverCress crop that fits into existing corn and soybean rotations. Adding a new, marketable crop into rotation on existing land during winter can provide farmers with additional revenue while also offering the ecosystem benefits of a cover crop; the CoverCress crop provides cover, decreases nitrogen losses and improves overall soil health.
“Bunge is pleased to expand our relationship with CCI to continue to develop next generation lower carbon feedstocks, which will also help meet the growing demand for renewable fuels,” said Greg Heckman, chief executive officer of Bunge. “We believe rotational cover crops will play a key role in our strategy in connection with the recently announced partnership with Chevron. Together, we share a commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon in our value chains.”
Bunge Ventures, the for-profit, global investment arm of Bunge, led a Series B-1 financing round in CCI in April 2021 and recently increased its stake in CCI through a Series C-1 round. Complementing the commercial agreement between Bunge and CCI, Chevron USA Inc., a subsidiary of Chevron Corp., also acquired an ownership stake in CCI through the Series C-1 financing round. Bunge and Chevron have announced a joint venture that will produce feedstock to supply the rapidly growing renewable fuel industry.
Under the commercial partnership between CCI and Bunge, CCI will supply CoverCress grain produced under contract with farmers to Bunge for processing. The strategic partnerships among Chevron, Bunge and CCI create a dedicated farm-to-fuel supply chain for the low carbon intensity oil feedstock produced from CoverCress grain.
Founded in 2013, St. Louis, Missouri, US-based CCI is converting the common winter annual, field pennycress, using plant breeding to improve yield and maturity combined with advanced gene editing tools to improve fiber and oil composition.
“Farmers are the key to enabling our CoverCress technology to make a difference to lowering the carbon intensity of diesel and jet fuel,” said Mike DeCamp, chief executive officer of CCI. “That is why this agreement is so critical: It enables us and our farmer partners to earn more from the distinctive aspect of our ultra-low carbon grain than just a commodity value.”