Qteros, a Massachusetts startup (formerly SunEthanol) commercializing consolidated bio-processing (CBP) technology based on the “Q Microbe” (Clostridium phytofermentans), announced that Valero Energy Corp. has become a significant investor. Valero has established its investment in Qteros through its acquisition of certain assets of Verasun Energy. (Earlier post.)
First discovered in Western Massachusetts by Qteros Founder and Chief Scientist Dr. Susan Leschine, the Q Microbe has the ability to transform virtually any cellulosic material into ethanol in a single step, avoiding the usual two-step process in which expensive enzymes are used to break down the biomass before it can be fermented.
Over the past year and a half, the company has received four grants from the US Department of Energy for technological development. The Qteros lab team has already achieved a 15-fold productivity increase in its cellulosic ethanol technology.
Qteros recently announced that it has received $2 million in US government appropriations towards a pilot plant for its C3 (Complete Cellulosic Conversion) technology it plans to open this summer. The company has also received funding from Venrock, Battery Ventures, BP, and Soros Fund Management.