Mascoma Announces Major Research Advance for Cellulosic Ethanol

 

Mascoma

Mascoma says they’ve achieved a 60% reduction in cost for their consolidated bioprocessing technology (CBP).

Mascoma Corp., a well-known firm pursuing the advanced production of cellulosic ethanol, announced today what they’re calling “major scientific advances” that will enable them to produce lower cost, lower carbon fuel from sustainable sources.

This is a true breakthrough that takes us much, much closer to billions of gallons of low cost cellulosic biofuels. Many had thought that CBP was years or even decades away, but the future just arrived. Mascoma has permanently changed the biofuels landscape from here on.

-Dr. Bruce Dale, Scientific Advistory Board of Mascoma

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Mascoma’s value-proposition is to elminate as many steps as possible in the processing of non-food cellulosic feedstocks to produce ethanol. The consolidation of the process—which involves enzymatically breaking apart cellulose into sugars, and then fermenting the sugars into alcohol—dramatically reduces overall cost. CBP eliminates the need for added and costly enzymes to process pretreated lignocellulose into ethanol.





While significant, the breakthrough doesn’t actually speed up the commercialization of Mascoma’s technology. These are lab results that must first be taken to the the testing facility in Rome, NY. But as a company representative told me on the phone, there are really no major technical breakthroughs that need to happen now. 

These advances enable the reduction in operating and capital costs required for cost-effective commercial production of ethanol, bringing Mascoma substantially closer to commercialization. Our results go a long way toward establishing the feasibility of the processing concept that we have built our company around – so this is a big day for us.

-Jim Flatt, Executive Vice President of Research, Development and Operations at Mascoma

Mascoma is ramping up on a 40 million-gallon-per-year facility in Kinross, MI. The project is being funded by both the DOE ($26 mil) and the state of Michigan ($23.5 mil).

[UPDATE]: Jim Flatt at Mascoma and he gave me the following additional details:

  • Further strain optimization through 2010 will yield additional cost reduction important to improving financial attractiveness of Kinross, MI plant
  • Mascoma will be doing full testing of improved CBP strains and integrated process in Rome with associated process engineering specific to CBP.

More: GM Announces New Cellulosic Ethanol Partnership with Mascoma Corp.





About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.

  • Micskill

    Awesome! I wish the future would hurry up already.

  • Micskill

    Awesome! I wish the future would hurry up already.

  • Ben

    where’s the peer review confirmation?

  • Ben

    where’s the peer review confirmation?

  • Patrick

    I have a question and no one to ask. What happens if our wonderful superbugs (enzymes) which convert cellulose directly to fuel get into the environment? What is the risk of collateral damage from creating these bugs?

  • Patrick

    I have a question and no one to ask. What happens if our wonderful superbugs (enzymes) which convert cellulose directly to fuel get into the environment? What is the risk of collateral damage from creating these bugs?

  • @Ben: The results were just presented at the 31st symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals here in SF. That’s a start.

    http://gas2.org/2009/05/05/liveblogging-from-the-advanced-biofuels-symposium-in-san-francisco/

    @Patrick: Most of these “superbugs” require very tightly controlled environment, and would not be able to survive outside the lab.

  • @Ben: The results were just presented at the 31st symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals here in SF. That’s a start.

    http://gas2.org/2009/05/05/liveblogging-from-the-advanced-biofuels-symposium-in-san-francisco/

    @Patrick: Most of these “superbugs” require very tightly controlled environment, and would not be able to survive outside the lab.

  • Frank

    How about a LINK??????? I CANT READ THE PIC!!!

    DETAILS!!!

    How about more research and details?

    Why can’t I get their site? Where is a bigger JPG????

  • Frank

    How about a LINK??????? I CANT READ THE PIC!!!

    DETAILS!!!

    How about more research and details?

    Why can’t I get their site? Where is a bigger JPG????

  • Try googling ‘mascoma’. Or try the link that I included in the post.

  • Try googling ‘mascoma’. Or try the link that I included in the post.

  • Harrier

    These type of reports have been coming out for years and oil companies keep buying them out. That is why the company publicized it.

  • Harrier

    These type of reports have been coming out for years and oil companies keep buying them out. That is why the company publicized it.

  • @Harrier- this isn’t the first announcement that Mascoma has made. Marathon Oil has invested though–a $10 million equity investment in Mascoma. See:

    http://gas2.org/2008/05/07/mascoma-update-cellulosic-ethanol-company-adds-10-million-from-marathon-oil/

  • @Harrier- this isn’t the first announcement that Mascoma has made. Marathon Oil has invested though–a $10 million equity investment in Mascoma. See:

    http://gas2.org/2008/05/07/mascoma-update-cellulosic-ethanol-company-adds-10-million-from-marathon-oil/

  • Takchess

    The initial plan from Dartmouth

    http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/biomass/#cellulose

    Some detailed info re Mascoma

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/05/mascoma-20090508.html#more

    http://www.mascoma.com/news/pdf/Technology%20AdvancesRelease%20-%20050709%20FINAL.pdf

    There are additional investers in this beside Marathon. In fact many nonnational oil companies have lesser access to reserves and need to find additional?new replacement sources of revenue.

  • Takchess

    The initial plan from Dartmouth

    http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/biomass/#cellulose

    Some detailed info re Mascoma

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/05/mascoma-20090508.html#more

    http://www.mascoma.com/news/pdf/Technology%20AdvancesRelease%20-%20050709%20FINAL.pdf

    There are additional investers in this beside Marathon. In fact many nonnational oil companies have lesser access to reserves and need to find additional?new replacement sources of revenue.

  • kerry bradshaw

    More paranoia abut oil companies. So what else is new?

  • kerry bradshaw

    More paranoia abut oil companies. So what else is new?

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • WOW

    Tom Dashale sits on their board – I wonder.

  • WOW

    Tom Dashale sits on their board – I wonder.

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • Does it generate more energy than simply burning the biomass yet?

  • So much power does the oil companies have over us all, that I bet if you digg deep enough you will find that the whole system is index linked, oil to air to water, together with the companies that control the alternative energies,

    there are those who are saying that its not the governments of any country that control it, but the INC’s and the CORP’s who are, and are leading us down the garden path towards the new green taxes we are all trying so hard to avoid or not to avoid, so they can tax us to the hilt, whilst protecting their intrests in the name of profit.

    As I have mentioned before, the oil we have today is on tap and ready to use almost, growing plant matter takes time and time to be processed, these are the figure we need to know about, calorific values etc etc, how much is put in to how much one gets out, figures please,

    I would say we are going to need to to combine quite a few different kinds of technologies to make things work, putting all of our eggs into one basket like we have with oil will only get us back to where we are now.

    If the oil companies are buying up whatever invention because it is a small but potential threat to their dominence, this kind of mentality eventually becomes slavery of mankind, and the good ideas could soon be out of reach to even the richest 5 percent and those ideas are then lost along the wayside.

    we all know what needs to be done, start thinking for ourselves because they sure ain’t caring about anything other than their huge but rare pockets, while our many are forever empty, they must think we owe them a living or something.

    I’m certainly not confused nor trusting of them.

  • So much power does the oil companies have over us all, that I bet if you digg deep enough you will find that the whole system is index linked, oil to air to water, together with the companies that control the alternative energies,

    there are those who are saying that its not the governments of any country that control it, but the INC’s and the CORP’s who are, and are leading us down the garden path towards the new green taxes we are all trying so hard to avoid or not to avoid, so they can tax us to the hilt, whilst protecting their intrests in the name of profit.

    As I have mentioned before, the oil we have today is on tap and ready to use almost, growing plant matter takes time and time to be processed, these are the figure we need to know about, calorific values etc etc, how much is put in to how much one gets out, figures please,

    I would say we are going to need to to combine quite a few different kinds of technologies to make things work, putting all of our eggs into one basket like we have with oil will only get us back to where we are now.

    If the oil companies are buying up whatever invention because it is a small but potential threat to their dominence, this kind of mentality eventually becomes slavery of mankind, and the good ideas could soon be out of reach to even the richest 5 percent and those ideas are then lost along the wayside.

    we all know what needs to be done, start thinking for ourselves because they sure ain’t caring about anything other than their huge but rare pockets, while our many are forever empty, they must think we owe them a living or something.

    I’m certainly not confused nor trusting of them.

  • the cost of cellulose ethanol is too high.

  • the cost of cellulose ethanol is too high.

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