Danish energy company Ørsted has sold the technology license for exclusive rights to Inbicon’s bio-conversion technology in the Americas to US firm NewEnergyBlue.

NewEnergyBlue will first employ the technology in North Dakota to turn wheat straw into a high-value, carbon-neutral automotive fuel.

Ørsted developed the technology over 15 years at a cost of more than $200m, proving efficacy and commercial operation at its refinery in Kalundborg for five of those years.

“A number of our executives worked with Ørsted developing this technology,” said Thomas Corle, NewEnergyBlue chief executive. “Our engineers continued to optimize the process of the refineries we’re designing today.”

NewEnergyBlue intends to build a series of biomass refineries across grain belts and sugar-growing regions to process agricultural residues like wheat straw, cornstalks, and sugar bagasse, converting them into a high-octane advanced ethanol that’s more than 100 per cent below the carbon baseline of grain ethanol – more than 140 per cent below gasoline.

“Our plan is to feed fuel markets in states like California and countries who likewise battle carbon pollution with policies that incentivize low-carbon biofuels made from agricultural residues,” Corle added.