Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thoroughbred Germs Make Gas From Garbage

Imagine converting virtually any waste--grass, municipal waste, old tires, wood chips--into fuel for your car. A company called Coskata claims it can do this using a patented bioreactor and anaerobic microbes found in nature.

Unlike corn ethanol refining, Coskata's process essentially vaporizes, or gasifies the feed stock, and their patented colonies of bacteria are fed the gas created, and then emit ethanol as a byproduct. The science behind the process comes from Oklahoma State and the University of Oklahoma, and was developed and perfected at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

Yesterday, the company announced a 40,000 gallon per year "demonstration plant" ethanol facility. It is estimated that they will be able to produce automobile fuel at wholesale sale cost for $1.00 per gallon. (Retail cost would likely be closer to $2.00 per gallon, but that's still an enormous savings from current prices of approx $3.75 per gallon/US.)

By 2011, they plan on having a 50-100 million gallon per year facility.

The smart money is behind them too, including General Motors and Koshla Ventures (Sun Co-founder's VC firm) The long term business plans of Coskata is to license their technology and colonies of "thoroughbred germs" to other companies who can build refineries and produce large amounts of low-cost biofuel.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This technology has the power to change the waste management services industry.