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Coskata signs partner for 2010 ethanol plant

The race is on for cost-effective biofuels. Start-up Coskata signs on ethanol plant designer.

Year-and-a-half-old ethanol company Coskata made its public debut at the North American international Auto Show in Detroit in January, where it announced a partnership with General Motors.

On Wednesday, Coskata said it has signed a deal with ICM to manufacture a cellulosic ethanol plant that will be up and running by 2010.

ICM is an ethanol plant design and engineering firm responsible for about half of North American ethanol production, according to the companies.

When he announced the GM deal, Coskata President and CEO Bill Roe said that the company will be signed on to many partnerships to commercialize its ethanol clients, which make the biofuels from a variety of sources, including agricultural wastes and wood chips.

He said that full-scale plants will be able to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol a year and would cost $300 million to $400 million.

As part of Coskata's GM deal, GM will invest in the company and test the fuel from a 40,000-gallons-a-year facility near a GM test track.