Range Fuels to build first wood ethanol plant
Range Fuels, Inc., a cellulosic ethanol company, will build its first ethanol plant in Treutlen County, Georgia. Founded by Menlo Park, California-based Khosla Ventures, Range Fuels estimates that this plant, combined with others to follow, will have the capacity to produce over 1 billion gallons of ethanol per year. The first plant will create over 70 new jobs for the area.
The announcement marks another major milestone for the State of Georgia's broad-reaching conservation and stewardship of its natural resources. Wood waste from the state's millions of acres of indigenous Georgia Pine will be the main source of biomass for the ethanol production.
"The state of Georgia has provided us with an excellent opportunity to use its abundant renewable natural resources to help solve fuel issues for the country," said Mitch Mandich, Range Fuels CEO.
While most domestic ethanol production requires corn as a feedstock, Range Fuels' proprietary process does not. It also completely eliminates the use of enzymes, which have been an expensive component of traditional cellulosic ethanol production. Products such as wood chips, grasses, and cornstalks as well as hog manure, municipal garbage, sawdust and paper pulp are transformed into ethanol through a thermo-chemical conversion process.
The company's system, K2, uses a two step process to convert biomass to a synthetic gas and from there, convert the gas to ethanol.