Mascoma Corporation chose Michigan as the site for a cellulosic ethanol plant that will primarily use wood chips and other non-food agricultural crops for feedstock.
Mascoma chose Michigan for the new plant based on the abundance of forestry and agricultural materials and the expertise found at Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University. These universities will partner with Mascoma on the project.
Michigan State will provide expertise in areas including pretreatment technology for cellulosic ethanol production and assistance with energy crops that can be utilized by the biorefinery. Michigan Tech will provide expertise through its “Wood to Wheels” initiative. This includes optimization of forestry feedstock materials for energy use, knowledge of sustainable forestry management practices, and access to its automotive engineering laboratories for analysis of the biofuels produced at the project site.
Mascoma focuses on consolidating the many biologically mediated steps involved in ethanol production into a single step (Consolidated Bioprocessing, CBP). Mascoma is developing organisms to break down the cellulose, ferment sugar, tolerate high concentrations of ethanol and to devote most of their metabolic resources to ethanol production. (Earlier post.)
In March, Royal Nedalco and Mascoma Corporation signed a license and joint development agreement to further their initiatives to commercialize ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass. (Earlier post.)
In July, Range Fuels, Inc., formerly Kergy, a company that uses biomass gasification to produce ethanol, announced that it would build its first wood cellulosic ethanol plant in Treutlen County, Georgia. (Earlier post.)