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Old 10-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #1
DGthe3
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Coskata (GM partner) opens cellulose ethanol plant

Ethanol From Almost Anything

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoblog
Coskata's newly-opened semi-commercial flex ethanol facility in Madison, Pennsylvania is as small as it can possibly be. Co-located at a Westinghouse facility that also in some fashion uses nuclear energy, the Lighthouse project, as it's called, is running 24/7 to turn wood chips into ethanol. It's also intended to show off just how far Coskata has come since emerging from stealth mode almost two years ago. Oh, and the plant can also be scaled up to fit the needs of cellulosic ethanol producers from coast to coast.

The Lighthouse plant follows the Horizon integrated processing plant that started in 2008 in Warrenville, Illinois and precedes the Flagship plant that is due for 2012 at a location somewhere in the Southeast U.S. that will be announced later. The location for the Flagship plant has been selected, but Coskata will not specify where it will be until it can talk more specifically about the financing arrangements involved for the 55-million-gallon-per-year plant that will use forest residue and other woody biomass.

Coskata says the Flagship will be "the first commercially-viable, feedstock-flexible ethanol facility." The company has not taken any government money to date, but they may apply for DOE loan guarantees for the Flagship plant. Coskata will also not expand this Madison Lighthouse facility. In fact, they're only located there as a guest and will leave when the contract is up. The facility is modular and will actually be dismantled and trucked to the Flagship location in the future.

What might this plant offer, both for partner General Motors and for the U.S.'s biofuel needs?
more of the article posted here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autoblog
What is GM's role?

GM has invested an unspecified amount in Coskata. While the money and association certainly don't hurt Coskata's efforts to bring cellulosic ethanol to market, the biofuel company has received large investments from other groups as well (including Vinod Khosla's venture capital fund). The bigger question is what does Coskata (and Mascoma, another company The General has invested in) do for GM?

Bob Babik, GM vehicle emissions director, was on hand in Madison to share GM's fuel diversification strategy, which is absolutely nothing new. These days, though, we more often hear GM talk about plug-in and hydrogen vehicles; the longer-term, sexy technologies. Biofuels? There's no thrill in that.

But biofuels are important to GM. Very important. GM started looking for biofuel partners in 2007 and was interested in the flexible input streams that Coskata can use in their production process. Getting cellulosic ethanol to market is a good thing, Babik said, because 96 percent of all vehicles on the road today still rely on petroleum. Biofuels offer a low-cost, feasible alternative to petroleum, and can do so sooner rather than later. The vehicles are here, after all. Worldwide, GM has built over five million flex-fuel vehicles and has publicly committed to having over 50 percent of its vehicles be E85-capable by 2012.

GM does get an immediate benefit from the ethanol that Coskata is making today. "We feel beholden to GM, for all that they've done for us," Roe said, explaining why some of the ethanol produced in Pennsylvania will be shipped up to Michigan for GM's testing purposes.
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