Coskata Inc., has finally unveiled it’s “semi-commercial flex ethanol facility” to the world today with the New York Times taking the lead. In the article author Matthew Wald writes, “The facility, built by a company called Coskata, is not quite proof that a new era is at hand for American transportation fuels. But with the company claiming it will be able to convert wood waste into biofuel for about $1 a gallon, the plant suggests that day may be drawing nearer.”
Project Lighthouse (the name for the plant) will be able to reduce greenhouse gasses by as much as 96% over gasoline while using half of the water per gallon as compared to producing a gallon of gas. The company also claims that its process is as much as 7 times as energy positive as the fossil fuel used in the process.
In a press statement, Bill Roe, Coskata’s President and CEO said, “We are proud that we have successfully scaled our technology to this significant level. This facility is demonstrating that our efficient, affordable and flexible conversion technology is ready for commercialization. The next step is to build full-scale facilities and begin licensing our technology to project developers, project financiers and strategic partners.” Long-term, Coskata will commercialize their plants between 50-100 million gallons per year.
The difference in Coskata’s flex ethanol facility is that it will be producing ethanol from numerous feedstocks, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, sustainable energy crops, and construction waste. The feedstock flexible nature of this approach, says the company, is that it allows for true geographic flexibility, meaning facilities can be built anywhere a feedstock can be sourced or delivered.
Multiple feedstock use has proven to be financially rewarding as last month, HERO BX’s CEO Leonard Kosar noted in a media call that their company will be using 15 different feedstocks to profitably produce biodiesel this year.
Roe concluded by saying, “Coskata leverages proprietary microorganisms and efficient bioreactor designs in a unique three-step conversion process that can turn virtually any carbon-based feedstock into ethanol, from anywhere in the world. Coskata’s biological fermentation technology is ethanol-specific and enzyme independent, contributing to high energy conversion rates and ethanol yields.”