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What is cellulosic ethanol and how does it fit with green cars?

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Cellulosic ethanol could get a boost from a sea grub

As we know, breaking down long-chain cellulose molecules into individual sugar molecules is problematic on an industrial scale. In nature, of course, this happens all the time thanks to little critters like the Limnoria Quadripunctata, or four spotted gribble. The gribble or sea grub, like numerous other tiny life forms, is able to consume biomass like wood and turn it into something that can more easily be transformed into a liquid fuel.

Verenium to build its first commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plant

Verenium Corporation has been awarded a $7 million grant from the state of Florida and it will use the money to build its first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. The money comes through the state's Farm to Fuel initiative, something sure to enrage ethanol opponents. The plant, to be constructed beginning later this year in Highlands County, Florida, is expected to start generating fuel in 2011.

April 15th is coming and the IRS has got your biofuel tax information ready

If you're the Ned Flanders type who just loves to get your taxes done early, we've got the post for you. The IRS has prepared a document on the changes to the tax code that biodiesel and cellulosic biofuel producers need to be aware of. If you know that ASTM D 6751 biodiesel standard was revised, but don't know what the revision means for you, then you should download the paper (PDF).

Ethanol turns out to be the worst type of renewable energy

Photo by veganstraightedge. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Georgia company quits cellulosic ethanol in favor of garbage methane

The company formerly known as Xethanol Corp, is now known as Global Energy Holdings Group. As a renamed and reorganized company, it has dropped its focus on cellulosic ethanol in the face of falling ethanol prices. Instead, the company will take a more wide-ranging approach that includes tapping into landfills to harvest the methane contained within. The methane can be filtered and either used to produce electricity or blended with other natural gas sources. In addition the company will work on

Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference - municipal waste ethanol from BlueFire

At the Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference, Bluefire Ethanol's chairman and CEO, Arnold Klann, described his company's ethanol-making process as an "oddball" in the marketplace. The upside, though, is that the simplicity of the system - which uses a concentrated acid hydrolysis process - means they can use feedstocks that others cannot, he said.

Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference - sitting down with Coskata's Wes Bolsen

As promised, we got a chance to sit down with Wes Bolsen, the CMO and vice president at Coskata, during last week's Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference in Chicago. We wanted a little more information on the $1/gallon number for the Coskata process "cellulosic" ethanol (yes, Bolsen pointed out that it's really carbon ethanol, but he's OK with people using the cellulosic term, even th

Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference - updates from Coskata, Novozymes and SunOpta

Thursday at the Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference saw three of the cellulosic ethanol plant builders give updates on their strategy for converting biomass to fuel and where their companies are today. The speakers were Wes Bolsen, CMO and vp at Coskata, Christopher Veit, senior marketing manager, biomass, for Novozymes, Inc., and Murray Burke, president and CTO of SunOpta. The short version of each of their speeches: we're doing amazing things, you should really take another look at our techno

Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference - industry overview

If you get into a room with a lot of people who make up part of the cellulosic ethanol industry, things can get a little technical. This is the situation here in Chicago for the Platts 3rd Annual Cellulosic Ethanol and Biofuels conference. A few hundred representatives from a lot of companies in the cellulosic ethanol "space" (I hear this term so often these days - the green tech space, the green car space, etc. Why?) are here and the rapid-fire presentations are truly talking to the choir, as i

DOE will invest $26 million in Mascoma's cellulosic ethanol plant in Michigan

During a conference call this afternoon, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that the U.S. DOE will invest $26 million dollars in the state's first cellulosic ethanol production plant, being built by Mascoma in the Upper Peninsula. Granholm, speaking with a sore voice thanks to a cold, said that this is the first time that Michigan has gotten a DOE grant in partnership w

Wal-Mart gives $369,000 for ethanol research in Arkansas

Last month, the Wal-Mart Foundation gave $369,000 to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute for cellulosic ethanol research, specifically biomass-to-ethanol work. For comparison, Wal-Mart earned $351,139,000,000 last year.

Iogen ships first 26,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol to Shell

Canadian cellulosic ethanol producer Iogen has shipped the first 26,000 gallons of an order for Royal Dutch Shell. Iogen recently announced a deal with Shell that would see them cooperate on commercializing cellulosic ethanol production. Iogen has a demonstration plant near the Canadian capitol and produced the biofuel from wheat straw feedstock. Iogen uses a "steam explosion" pre-treatment process that increases the surface area of the raw materials making the enzymes used to break down the cel

GM Energy Systems director to join Mascoma advisory board

Massachusetts-based Mascoma Corp. has added Dr. Andreas Lippert to its scientific advisory board. Mascoma, along with Coskata, is one of the two companies working on cellulosic ethanol technology that GM invested in earlier this year. Dr. Lippert is the Director of Global Energy Systems for GM and is responsible for strategic analysis and outlook on global energy

DOE offers $4.4 million for university biofuel projects

It's not all li-ion battery tech that the federal government is givng support to these days; biofuels are getting some tax dollars as well. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that six biofuel projects at universities around the U.S. will be getting up to $4.4 million in funding. The good news is that the money is for work in non-food cellulosic ethanol research.

Dartmouth researchers create new ethanol-producing bacteria

Mascoma Corp is one of the two cellulosic ethanol companies that General Motors invested in earlier this year. Dr. Lee Lynd is one of Mascoma's co-founders and he and his collaborators at Dartmouth College have published a paper that gives some more insight into Mascoma's process. They have created a new genetically-

Ceres, Range Fuel testing switchgrass and sorghum to make ethanol

Using switchgrass and sorghum, the bio-energy company Ceres will on day make cellulosic ethanol at a plant that is currently being built near Soperton, Georgia. Ceres will work with Range Fuels to make the biofuel over the next few years (this is a test after all, not a commercial endeavor just yet). The biorefinery will mostly make cellulosic ethanol from wood residue, but these alternative sources (alternative to the alternative, in a sense) are in Ceres' sights because "they are highly effici

Reducing GHG emissions by producing bioplastics alongside ethanol

Aside from metals such as iron, steel and aluminum, perhaps the most common material in cars is plastic. Most of the plastic made today is derived from petroleum. Besides the raw materials used, a lot pf greenhouse gases are produced in the processing of plastics. Bio-materials have been a major research area in recent years including Ford's new soy-foam seats. Researchers from the Hawaii Natural Ener

Mascoma cellulosic ethanol plant to be built in northern Michigan

Nearly two months after the announcement by General Motors of its equity investment in Mascoma, the Massachusetts company has announced the location of its first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant. Mascoma CEO Bruce Jamerson and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced a plant would be built near Sault Ste. Marie in northern Michigan. Mascoma will be collaborating with Michigan State Univ

South Dakota lawmaker wants cellulosic ethanol to count towards RFS

When is cellulosic ethanol not cellulosic ethanol? When it's grown on public land. Let us explain.

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