And depending on which process and which study you personally ascribe to, the answer on how "carbon clean" ethanol looks depends. In most debates centering on corn fermentation, for example, the studies cite a range from say, 20 to 30% less carbon intensive than gasoline, to 20 or 30% more. This begs one very big question in my mind, what's … Read more
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts say forget about cellulosic ethanol. They can make regular gas out of plant matter.
Professor George Huber and grad students Torren Carlson and Tushar Vispute have come up with a way to cook plant matter in the presence of a solid, reusable catalyst to produce a liquid that contains compounds like naphthalene and toluene that are found in gasoline. The liquid can be further processed to produce gas or burned as is.
It might be 10 years before gas made from the process appears at the pump, but conceivably it could be used more … Read more
Talk about your low-cost feedstocks.
BlueFire Ethanol wants to set up a series of small ethanol refineries at the world's finest landfills. The company will convert organic waste--paper, vegetable scraps, etc.--into fuel and then sell it locally. The business revolves around the idea that the feedstock is worthless. Landfill operators pay about $6 a ton to get rid of their trash. By converting it to ethanol the operators eliminate this cost and can qualify for carbon credits. BlueFire operates the ethanol refinery and then sells the fuel.
The first plant, a 3.6 million gallon a year facility … Read more
To make ethanol, you want to make vinegar first, according to ZeaChem.
The biofuel start-up, which has moved from Colorado to Silicon Valley, says it has come up with a method of making cellulosic ethanol that results in close to 40 percent more fuel per ton of wood chips than competing processes. By 2010 or so, the company hopes to be producing ethanol commercially for 80 cents a gallon at wholesale. That could translate to anywhere from $1.10 to $1.50 at the pump, depending on a host of factors.
How does it work? Most cellulosic ethanol producers convert … Read more
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 … Read more
Many in the auto industry are touting ethanol as the solution to the challenge of post-petroleum transportation. Major carmakers advertise many new cars can run on E85--a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline--and they trumpet the fuels environmental benefits relative to gasoline. But the ethanol story is not as straightforward as it sounds. Aside from the lack of infrastructure--only around 1,400 out of 170,000 U.S. filling stations have ethanol available--the production of ethanol from corn has drawn criticism for its cost (in terms of food-stocks and land usage) and the relative inefficiency of the … Read more
You can't buy cellulosic ethanol at the pump just yet, but Corvette Racing will use it on the track this year in the American LeMans circuit.
The Corvette team will put a version of E85 ethanol (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) made from cellulosic ethanol into its cars for the 2008 season. Unlike conventional ethanol, an alcohol made out of corn or sugar cane, cellulosic ethanol is made from sawdust, wood chips, and agricultural waste. Processing cellulosic ethanol is trickier, but advocates say it could result in a cheap form of transportation fuel someday because the feedstock (i.… Read more
Mascoma, which hopes to make cellulosic ethanol out of old wood chips and weed-like plants, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for its first plant that is expected to start producing fuel by the end of 2008.
The plant, in Rome, N.Y., will be capable of churning out 500,000 gallons of fuel a year when fully operational. While that sounds like a lot, it's small for the fuel industry. (Americans consume about 150 billion gallons of gas a year.) Thus, the plant will serve as a showcase for Mascoma's technology. The company, a spin-out of … Read more
Start-up Range Fuels on Tuesday will host a groundbreaking ceremony in Soperton, Ga., where the company will build a plant that will make the fuel ethanol from wood chips.
If successful, the company claims it will be the first to build a commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, using a feedstock that's cleaner than corn--the primary source of ethanol in the U.S. today.
Green tech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla is one the investors in Range Fuels and a high-profile advocate of ethanol and other biofuels.
The numbers behind making ethanol from wood waste, rather than corn, are compelling, he says: … Read more