Startup: "Renewable Petroleum" LS9 Opens Up


The Khosla-backed biofuel company LS9 is opening up the kimono a bit today. Grist and the Wall Street Journal say the company has developed a biofuel that use traditional feedstocks used for ethanol, but will contain “50% more energetic content and is made via a process that uses 65% less energy.” The WSJ says the biofuel lacks oxygen and is similar to petroleum, so it could be distributed through the existing petroleum infrastructure.

So basically they’re producing a biofuel that is much closer to the properties of petroleum than ethanol. The San Carlos, California-based startup even calls its biofuel “renewable petroleum.” That’s a big plus for the fuel, since one of the biggest barriers to ethanol adoption is the need for a flex fuel car as well as the use of a separate distribution system.

The articles say that LS9 will be releasing more details of the science it’s using to produce the biofuel at the annual meeting of the Society for Industrial Microbiology. The company also issued a press release that says that Royal Dutch Shell veteran Robert Walsh is the company’s new President.

In March the company said it had raised $5 million in Series A funding from Flagship Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Khosla Ventures also backed Pasadena, California-based startup Gevo, which converts biomass into next-gen biofuels like butanol.


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In the long run, I think Jathropa is the most viable solution. Livestock based fuels are inefficient because the higher up the food chain, the more water is needed.

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