March 7, 2012

DOUBLING DOWN ON CELLULOSIC ETHANOL:

Despite of years of federal mandates, the cellulosic biofuels industry—which aims to make ethanol from wood chips and similar plant matter instead of corn—has yet to start commercial-scale production.

But the fledgling industry got some good news yesterday when Virdia, a company that converts cellulose into sugar, announced that it had raised over $100 million in private and public financing to go toward building its first commercial-scale plant. Converting cellulose to sugar is the most difficult part of making cellulosic biofuels. Once the sugars are produced, they can be converted to ethanol using the conventional process for making ethanol, which uses corn sugar.

If you’re going to make ethanol fuel, it should come from non-food.

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