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Research on Cellulosic Ethanol Technology Yields Results

Commercial production of cellulosic ethanol as a low-cost renewable fuel by Mascoma Corp., a cellulosic biomass-to-ethanol company, is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Massachusetts-based company's new partnership with Dartmouth College will allow the continuation of research into producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass technology based on several patents from Dartmouth.

Ethanol made from cellulosic biomass (grass, wood, agricultural and forestry wastes) has significantly lower raw material cost and expands the potential for ethanol to blend with and displace gasoline with a cleaner, renewable, domestically produced liquid fuel. Currently ethanol in the U.S. is made primarily from corn, a relatively expensive and limited supply food crop. The cellulosic ethanol technology is based on work conducted and directed by Dartmouth Engineering Professor Lee Lynd, Ph.D. An expert in microbial cellulose conversion and cellulosic ethanol production pioneer, Lynd co-founded Mascoma, and serves as its chief scientific officer. Mascoma's sponsorship of research at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering will help advance the development of the cost-effective production of cellulosic ethanol. In turn, the college is supporting Mascoma's commercialization of the cellulosic ethanol technology, and has taken an undisclosed equity position. "These license and sponsored research agreements will enable Dartmouth to contribute to this technology of the future, which is becoming increasingly crucial for our national economy and the United States geopolitical goals," said Alla Kan, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at Dartmouth. "Mascoma and Dartmouth share a vision that bioengineering of advanced biocatalysts will significantly reduce the cost of ethanol and expand the use of ethanol production from a wide range of cellulosic material. " Mascoma is aggressively pursuing the development of advanced cellulosic ethanol projects based on technology developed in Professor Lynd's labs at Dartmouth's Thayer School. Initial deployment activities are focused on strategic partnerships for conversion of waste paper sludge and other cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol. "Conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol represents a significant commercial opportunity for Mascoma, as well as being environmentally sustainable, enhancing national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil, and enabling rural economic development and job creation," said Colin South, Mascoma's president.


UK Parliament Clean Energy Leaders

UK Government Names Clean Energy Cabinet Members

David Appleyard, Contributing Editor With the UK general election now over and a majority Conservative Party government in place, the re-elected Prime Minister David Cameron has now named key members of the government charged with steering the UK’s clean energ...

Coast to Coast and Across the Electric System, Microgrids Provide Benefits to All

Dick Munson, Environmental Defense Fund At the most obvious level, microgrids could disrupt today’s utilities and their regulated-monopoly business model, because they challenge the centralized paradigm. In a nutshell, microgrids are localized power grids that ha...
Alaska Airlines Biofuel

Alaska Airlines, Gevo To Demonstrate Renewable Alcohol-to-Jet Fuel

Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest

In Colorado, Gevo and Alaska Airlines announced a strategic alliance to purchase Gevo’s renewable jet fuel and fly the first-ever commercial flight on alcohol-to-jet fuel (ATJ).

Germany wind turbines. Credit: Shutterstock.

Germany's Powerhouse Feels Pinch of Merkel’s Shift to Renewables

Tino Andresen, Bloomberg North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that’s home to utilities RWE AG and EON SE, is losing its standing as the country’s powerhouse as wind and solar energy begin to displace conventional sources. Electricity consumers ...


Volume 18, Issue 3


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