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Summary:

Coskata, the startup with plans to produce $1 a gallon cellulosic ethanol, has announced the location of its 40,000 gallon a year pilot plant: Madison, Penn., just northeast of Pittsburgh. The $25 million project will be built with newly revealed technology partner Westinghouse Plasma. Coskata says […]

Coskata, the startup with plans to produce $1 a gallon cellulosic ethanol, has announced the location of its 40,000 gallon a year pilot plant: Madison, Penn., just northeast of Pittsburgh. The $25 million project will be built with newly revealed technology partner Westinghouse Plasma. Coskata says the plant will start delivering ethanol by early 2009 for GM, one of its backers, to use in flex-fuel vehicle tests at the automaker’s site in Milford, Mich.

Coskata’s newest partner, Westinghouse Plasma, a subsidiary of gasification specialist Alter NRG, will provide gasification technology for the pilot plant. Gasification is key to Coskata’s ability to use a variety of feedstocks. Under high heat and pressure the gasifier breaks the chemical bonds of the feedstock, reducing it to syngas – carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide molecules. The pilot plant will use woody biomass as well as agricultural and industrial wastes as feedstocks, Coskata says.

In parallel development is Coskta’s first full-scale facility, a 50-100 million gallon a year plant that Coskata plans to break ground for this year with production starting in 2011. The Warrenville, Ill.-based startup has moved quickly in its first 20 months. The cellulosic ethanol race will likely provide a large prize for the first to make it to market, while forcing consolidation on those startups whose technology doesn’t pay off. Coskata has been talking a big game and now it looks like their production is falling into place to back it up.

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By Craig Rubens

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  1. Nuthin’ but good news.

    I’ve been dragging my feet on Posting about Coskata. Green biz has as much vaporware as the wonderful world of software ever offered up. But, these folks – and the obvious heavy hitters who are partnering – look like reality.

    The science has been sound from the gitgo. And it should be a heck of an interesting race among several methods and means to get to the consumer first.

  2. Plasma gasification is a high energy consumption proposition. I’m a bit skeptical.

  3. DS – as noted in earlier posts, Coskata’s process is very high energy; but, instead of a long process requiring less energy for hours and days, their batch processing is measured in minutes – often only one minute.

  4. Craig, you’ll see your article posted, today, over at dvorak.org/blog – aiming for 8:30AM dvorak time, which is 12:30EDT.

  5. » $1 a gallon ethanol a step closer Dvorak Uncensored: General interest observations and true web-log. Monday, April 28, 2008

    [...] project will be built with newly revealed technology partner Westinghouse Plasma. Coskata says the plant will start delivering ethanol by early 2009 for GM, one of its backers, to use in flex-fuel vehicle tests at the automaker’s site in Milford, [...]

  6. Verenium Opens Cellulosic Ethanol Demo Plant « Earth2Tech Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    [...] GM, plans to scale up a pilot project to a 40,000-gallon demonstration facility by the end of 2008. In April Coskata said that pilot plant would be built in Madison, Penn., just northeast of Pittsburgh, and [...]

  7. Coskata Pulls in Funding From Blackstone « Earth2Tech Friday, December 5, 2008

    [...] said this third round of financing will be used to complete its $25 million demonstration facility near Pittsburgh in early 2009 and to start engineering and design work on its first full-scale [...]

  8. Coskata Pulls in Funding From Blackstone Saturday, December 6, 2008

    [...] said this third round of financing will be used to complete its $25 million demonstration facility near Pittsburgh in early 2009 and to start engineering and design work on its first full-scale [...]

  9. Weak Economy Could Push Back Coskata’s Commercial Plant « Earth2Tech Sunday, December 7, 2008

    [...] The company started building its demonstration plant in April, saying it would cost $25 million and would be located at the site of a pilot-scale gasifier owned and operated by Westinghouse Plasma Corp. [...]

  10. Finally. It’s good to hear movement towards Ethenol. I thinks it’s long over due. Should be hearing more about it here in 2009.

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