Bioenergy, Hydropower

SunEthanol Gets DOE Funding

SunEthanol’s Q Microbe technology has received federal funding. It is one of four small-scale biorefinery projects in the country that has just received the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE grant comes in addition to private funding.

The DOE will invest up to $114 million over four years in the four small-scale biorefinery projects, with the goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive in five years. SunEthanol’s patented Q Microbe technology is based on a microbe discovered near the shores of the Quabbin Reservoir, close to Amherst, Massachusetts, by Dr. Susan Leschine and her research team at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. According to the company, the Q Microbe is able to convert a number of different forms of plant material (biomass), including cellulose, to ethanol and produces more ethanol and fewer byproducts than other microbes.

“Cellulosic ethanol is clearly the wave of the future, and we’re very excited about this added boost from the government because it will help our technology get to market faster, lower CO2 output and increase our nation’s energy security,” said Jef Sharp, CEO of SunEthanol.