Efficient Biomass Energy Almost Here
Efficient Biomass Energy Almost Here

Sun and tree



Startup producing $1/gallon fuel

Coskata Company, a startup backed my General Motors, has developed a unique process for creating ethanol from any type of biomass for less than $ 1 gallon. Wes Bolsen, a corporate vice president, said “It’s affordable and it’s now.”

Spurred by the Energy Independence Act of 2007, which requires a 5-fold increase in ethanol use, this represents the first successful attempt to use gasification to convert organic material into synthetic gas and special bacteria which consumes the gas to produce ethanol at 99.7 % purity. Environmental scientists say the process emits 84 % less CO2 than fossil fuel and the energy output is 7.7 times greater than the energy input, including that needed to grow biomass. The company expects to have its first commercial operation producing 100 million gallons by 2011. David Friedman at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said “This signals just how hot the competition is. It increases my confidence that someone will get it right soon.”  (Wired 1/31/08)


For more, see TechCast’s forecast of Alternative Fuels.