COLLEGE STATION—The Texas A&M University System announced Tuesday it has formed a joint venture company, AgFuture Energy LLC, to help identify and commercialize technologies developed by A&M System researchers and move them to the marketplace.
The A&M System is a co-owner of AgFuture Energy (AFE), with New Hope Partners, a business development, capitalization and advisory specialist currently focusing on agriculture and renewable energy based start-up ventures. The A&M System and New Hope Partners each own 50 percent of AgFuture Energy.
“This new venture represents another example of the A&M System’s commitment to finding new ways to meet the energy needs of our state, nation and world by developing strategic partnerships,” said A&M System Chancellor Michael D. McKinney. “Already we are at the forefront of helping develop clean, renewable bioenergy through our new BioEnergy Alliance. The alliance brings together the vast resources and intellectual capital of our two premier research agencies in agriculture and engineering, the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (TAES) and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES).”
AgFuture Energy currently is working to define a variety of projects that have development opportunity, and initially it will focus on technologies supporting the bioenergy industry. Among the first projects the company will pursue is partnering with the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Association to build a facility that can convert crops like sorghum into an energy source called cellulosic ethanol.
The establishment of a company like AgFuture Energy creates a new model for universities and university systems in partnering with the private sector, said Guy Diedrich, vice chancellor for technology commercialization for the A&M System.
“We are engaging with New Hope Partners, a firm with extensive expertise in the complexities of forming specialized start-up companies. Through this public-private partnership, AgFuture Energy, we will be able to accelerate the entire research and development process and commercialize a number of technologies,” said Diedrich. “Additionally, we will work with A&M System researchers in earlier stages of their work, encouraging them to develop technologies that have commercialization potential to more directly address the needs of our society and create jobs for Texans.”
Bud Cary, a partner in New Hope Partners, will serve as managing director of AgFuture Energy. He said the combination of the A&M System and New Hope brings the right resources, skills and perspective to a highly challenging but rewarding endeavor. “The sheer number and extent of the opportunities are enormous,” Cary said. “The value of the research taking place at Texas A&M University and the global reach and reputation of the entire A&M System already are generating a wealth of new ideas and potential partners to commercialize existing and developing technologies.”