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The flow of cash into cellulosic ethanol is accelerating with Range Fuels being the latest start-up to get an infusion. The Broomfield, Colo. company has received a $130 million round of venture funding. Most of the money will be used for construction of a waste wood to ethanol production facility in Soperton, GA. This follows an investment earlier this year by General Motors in Illinois-based Coskata.

Range Fuels' cellulosic ethanol plant, the first in America, broke ground Tuesday in Treutlen County, Georgia. Construction of the first 20 million-gallon-per-year phase is expected to be completed in 2008. Pictured, from the left, are U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman, Khosla Ventures Founder Vinod Khosla, Range Fuels CEO Mitch Mandich and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue.

Cellulosic ethanol is the next step in making a definitive replacement for foreign oil. The reality is becoming ever closer, now in large part due to Range Fuels. The State of Georgia has just awarded them a permit to build the first plant to employ their patented technology to produce 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year.

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.