Critics say it is a failure of government policy, not science, that the U.S. is still so dependent on corn for its biofuels.
Government is supporting the development of new feedstocks for ethanol to ease dependence on corn.
Photos: Coskata's cellulosic ethanol production
The announcement from General Motors at this year's Detroit auto show that it had invested in Coskata, a producer of cellulosic ethanol, created buzz across the automotive world. Coskata says its proprietary process, which relies on a combination of gasification and fermentation by microorganisms, is up to six times more efficient than the production of ethanol from corn. The process can handle everything from switchgrass to industrial waste to household garbage, produces fewer emissions and noxious byproducts than comparable systems, and will result in ethanol with a production cost of around one dollar per gallon.
General Motors creates a $100 million fund to foster innovative auto technologies, betting that advanced tech will perk up sales.
Here is Coskata's business plan in a nutshell: take garbage, make gas out of it, and feed it to microbes. Then a big company pays you to teach them how to do it.
The race is on for cost-effective biofuels. Start-up Coskata signs on ethanol plant designer.
Automotive News reports on the state of the biofuel industry.
Coskata says its hybrid ethanol technology, using thermochemical and biological processes, can produce environmentally friendly ethanol cheaper than gasoline.
Canadian company Enerkem to use municipal solid trash and wood chips to make ethanol in a process it says is cleaner than traditional waste-to-energy technologies.