A little over two years ago, the big news was that automaker General Motors had invested in start-up cellulosic ethanol company Coskata. This week, we learned that a giant from another industry, French oil company Total, has put a lot of money (the total amount was not disclosed) into Coskata, leading a Series C prime funding round. In return, Total gets a seat on Coskata's board. Total has also invested in butanol company Gevo.

Some of Coskata's prior investors – Blackstone Cleantech Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners and Arancia – also invested more money this time around. For a detailed look at Coskata's technology to make "flex ethanol" from all sorts of biomass inputs as well as the company's plan for the future, check out this post.

[Source: Coskata]

PRESS RELEASE

Global Oil Major TOTAL Invests in Coskata, Inc.

Warrenville, Ill. – April 26, 2010 – Coskata Inc., a developer of platform technology for the production of biofuels and biochemicals from biomass and waste materials, today announced that it has closed a round of equity financing. French oil major TOTAL invested in the round and will have a seat on Coskata's Board of Directors. The proceeds of the financing will support Coskata's bio-ethanol commercialization activities while ensuring advancement of new product technologies. Also participating in the transaction were a number of Coskata's prior investors, including Blackstone Cleantech Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures (ATV), Globespan Capital Partners, and Arancia.

"This investment by TOTAL, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies and a major player in chemicals, confirms the potential of our technology platform and enhances our plans for commercial deployment," said Bill Roe, President and CEO of Coskata. "Having a strategic investor with a long-term view of developing and advancing Coskata's platform technology will strongly enhance our position in the biofuels and chemicals markets."

"Coskata has already successfully demonstrated its syngas conversion technology at a significant scale, and we are pleased to support this promising platform technology for the further steps of its development." said Manoelle Lepoutre, Senior Vice president Sustainable Development and Environment of TOTAL SA, and President of Total Energy Ventures International.

About Coskata

Coskata Inc. is a biology-based renewable energy company with a platform technology that enables the low-cost production of biofuels and chemicals, from virtually any carbonaceous material. Using anaerobic microorganisms and innovative bioreactor designs, we create and enable additional energy resources worldwide.

The process combines the flexibility of gasification with the efficiency of biological conversion of syngas into fuels or chemicals. Founded in 2006 by leading renewable energy investors and entrepreneurs including Khosla Ventures, Advanced Technology Ventures, and GreatPoint Ventures, Coskata has assembled an experienced management team to lead the development and commercialization of its compelling technology. For more information, please visit www.coskata.com.

About Total

Total is one of the world's leading oil and gas companies, with operations in more than 130 countries. To help meet global energy demand today and tomorrow, Total's 97,000 employees deploy their skills across the entire oil and gas chain, from exploration and production to refining and marketing, trading, and gas and power. It is also a world-class chemical producer. Through real-world initiatives and ongoing innovation, Total intends to play a key part in addressing the core social and environmental issues of the future by pursuing a threefold objective: managing and reducing its footprint, creating value for all stakeholders, and securing the future. www.total.com

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