Late last week, the U.S. Department of Energy picked three cellulosic ethanol projects as recipients of up to $86m in federal funding for fiscal years 2008-2011. These "small-scale biorefinery projects" are located in Maine, Tennessee and Kentucky and are intended to bring "cost-competitive" second-generation ethanol to market by 2012 (the plants will also make other bio-based chemicals and products). DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman said the projects would help President Bush reach his goal of stopping greenhouse gas emissions growth by 2025. The three winners are:
- RSE Pulp & Chemical of Old Town, Maine. (DOE share: up to $30 million.) This plant will use a wood extract made at an existing pulp mill.
- Mascoma Corporation of Boston, Massachusetts Proposed Plant in Vonore, Tennessee. (DOE share: up to $26 million.) The source here will be switchgrass and will be the largest cellulosic ethanol plant in Tennessee.
- Ecofin, LLC, of Nicholasville, Kentucky. (DOE share: up to $30 million.) Ecofin will use a variety of feedstocks, including corncobs, in this plant.