Coskata starts up biofuel plant

  • 22-Oct-2009 02:53 EDT

Shown are valves on Coskata's seed train at its semicommercial ethanol facility in Madison, PA.

Coskata Inc. has announced the successful start-up of its semicommercial flex ethanol plant in Madison, PA. "This facility is demonstrating that our efficient, affordable, and flexible conversion technology is ready for commercialization," said Bill Roe, President and CEO of Coskata. The next step is to build full-scale facilities and begin licensing our technology to project developers, project financiers, and strategic partners.” Unlike other technologies and facilities that may rely on one primary source of feedstock, Coskata’s flex ethanol facility will produce ethanol from numerous feedstocks, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, sustainable energy crops, and construction waste. This flexible approach is enabled by Westinghouse Plasma Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Alter NRG, and its plasma gasification technology. Coskata says this approach allows for true geographic flexibility, meaning facilities can be built anywhere a feedstock can be sourced or delivered. While the Westinghouse technology is used on the front end of the process, Coskata's own syngas-to-biofuels conversion process is used on the back end. The facility is a demonstration of “minimum scale engineering,” an industry term that means the plant is the smallest size that will still allow the company to scale directly to 50-million- and 100-million-gal (190- and 380-million-L) Coskata facilities. Some of the ethanol that is being produced at the facility has been delivered to General Motors' Milford Proving Grounds for early testing, as well as to another major strategic partner. GM has invested an undisclosed amount in Coskata.

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