Range Fuels, Inc., known until just the other day as Kergy, Inc., will build a cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia to turn wood waste into the biofuel. Range Fuels says its proprietary cellulosic ethanol technology can turn wood chips, agricultural wastes, grasses, cornstalks, hog manure, municipal garbage, sawdust or paper pulp (whew) into ethanol. Without using enzymes, the K2 system first turns the biomass into a synthetic gas and then into ethanol.
This new plant will be funded by Vinod Khosla's Khosla Ventures (Range Fuels itself is privately owned by Khosla Ventures) and can potentially create one million gallons of ethanol a year, along with and 70 new jobs. Khosla recently said at a Reuters Global Biofuels Summit that he thinks cellulosic fuel prices could sink to $1 per gallon within 10 years, and that would make them very attractive at the pump.

This cellulosic ethanol plant is a big step forward, since most ethanol plants in America use corn or soy as the biomass feedstock. Turning a waste product into fuel seems like a no-brainer. I'm not entirely sure if this waste is lumber industry by-product or things like fallen branches. The former seems much more likely, but the company's announcement reads, "Wood waste from the state's millions of acres of indigenous Georgia Pine will be the main source of biomass for the ethanol production." So, what does that mean exactly?

[Source: Range Fuels, Inc.]

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