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.
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.
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.
Pennsylvania lures cellulosic-ethanol maker Coskata to build a $25 million commercial demonstration plant that would make 40,000 gallons per year at $1 a gallon.
Coskata gets nearly $20 million as the debate over who has the best ethanol continues.
Looking to prime the pumps for its FlexFuel cars, the Detroit-based automaker forms a partnership with Cambridge, Mass.-based cellulosic-ethanol specialist Mascoma.
Company lands $166 million, more than anticipated, to help complete a 20 million gallon-per-year plant next year that uses a gasification process.