Celunol Breaks Ground on 1.4 mgy Cellulosic Ethanol Facility

Shortly after announcing a definitive merger agreement between Celunol and Diversa Corporation, Celunol Corp. broke ground on a new demonstration-scale cellulosic ethanol production facility, at its Jennings, Louisiana site, with a rated design capacity of 1.4 million gallons per year (mgy) of ethanol.

The company also celebrated the completion of its pilot cellulosic ethanol facility. “Cellulosic ethanol represents a new way to pursue the goals of increased energy security and economic development for our rural economy, while protecting the quality of our environment,” said Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. “It has become clear that we need to look to new feedstocks and technologies to increase the sources of supply of ethanol to meet the nation’s rising demand for clean automotive fuel,” said Carlos Riva, Celunol’s President and CEO. “The pilot plant we have inaugurated here illustrates the technical feasibility of producing ethanol on a high-yield basis from low-cost crops and agricultural residues.” Celunol Corp., a privately held company and biofuels technology developer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, seeks to commercialize its proprietary technology for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass feedstocks including sugarcane bagasse, agricultural waste, wood products and dedicated energy crops. Celunol has licensed its technology to Marubeni Corporation and Tsukishima Kikai Co., Ltd. for facilities built in Japan and certain other Asian countries. According to the company, Celunol’s demonstration facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. to enter the construction phase. The plant, which will draw on locally grown sugarcane bagasse and specially bred energy cane, will apply Celunol’s patented production process, which uses a combination of microorganisms and specialty enzymes to convert up to 95% of available sugars in biomass feedstocks into fuel ethanol. The plant is planned for completion before the end of 2007.

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