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Solugen Secures $214M DOE Loan for Bioforge

Houston-based startup Solugen has landed a $214 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy
June 13, 2024

Houston-based startup Solugen has secured a significant $214 million loan commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Known for its early financing of Tesla, the DOE's loan program aims to support innovative clean energy initiatives.

Solugen, led by CEO Gaurab Chakrabarti and CTO Sean Hunt, plans to use the funds to construct a state-of-the-art "bioforge" in Marshall, Minnesota. This sustainable chemicals plant will convert corn sugar (dextrose) into eco-friendly chemicals essential for concrete production, industrial and wastewater treatments, and household detergents.

Currently employing around 200 people in Texas, Solugen anticipates adding 60 more positions in Minnesota. The location was chosen for its proximity to major manufacturers like General Mills and 3M, which have inspired the company’s mission and growth.

Beyond expanding operations, Solugen is developing new enzymes from renewable sources. These efforts focus on creating sustainable chemicals for manufacturing plastics and nylon without harmful byproducts like heavy metals or PFAs.

Prior to securing the DOE loan, Solugen raised over $640 million from venture capital firms such as Baillie Gifford, GIC, Temasek, BlackRock, Founders Fund, Fifty Years, and Refactor. This financial backing underscores the industry's confidence in Solugen's innovative approach to sustainable chemical production.

Chris Creed, Chief Investment Officer for the DOE's Loan Programs Office, highlighted Solugen's unique position among the 20 companies receiving loan commitments for industrial decarbonization. Solugen stands out as the sole recipient focused on chemical production.

Creed emphasized the DOE's goal of fostering a clean energy economy, stating, "We provide debt financing for American entrepreneurs and companies to build projects here in the U.S. that will employ American workers and provide community benefits while reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their industries."

With this substantial support, Solugen is set to revolutionize the sustainable chemicals industry, driving both environmental and economic benefits.

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