Start-up company Mascoma said on Wednesday that a demonstration facility is making ethanol from wood chips and other non-food sources, bringing cellulosic ethanol a step closer to commercialization.
The test facility in Rome, N.Y., uses different feedstocks, including wood and grasses. Production is at a rate of 200,000 gallons per year. Mascoma didn't disclose the yield, or how much biomass is converted into fuel.
The company is testing two methods for making ethanol: a traditional enzyme-based process and one using adesigned to make the conversion cheaper.
Mascoma is one of a handful of upstart companies developing different technologies to convert wood chips and other non-food biomass into ethanol, which is an additive to gasoline.
Because of the economy and disrupted financial markets, non-government funding for cellulosic ethanol pilot facilities.
At the upstate New York facility, Mascoma said that it is benefiting from state grants aimed at promoting renewable energy businesses.