GM and Marathon enter into biofuels relationship with
General Motors Corp. (GM) and Mascoma Corp. have entered
into a relationship to develop cellulosic ethanol focused on Mascoma’s
single-step biochemical conversion of non-grain biomass into low-carbon
alternative fuels to help address increasing energy demand.
The relationship, which includes an undisclosed equity investment by
GM, complements an earlier investment in a cellulosic ethanol startup
that uses a thermo-chemical process to make ethanol from non-grain sources.
“Taken together, these technologies represent what we see as the best
in the cellulosic ethanol future and cover the spectrum in science and
commercialization,” GM president Fritz Henderson said. “Demonstrating
the viability of sustainable non-grain-based ethanol is critical to developing
the infrastructure to support the flex-fuel vehicle market.”
Mascoma and Marathon Oil Corporation announced a $10 million equity investment
by Marathon in Mascoma. The investment, which is part of $61 million
raised in Mascoma’s third round of funding, reflects Marathon’s commitment
to collaboration on the development, adoption and deployment of environmentally-friendly
and cost-effective next generation ethanol production.
Marathon’s investment will go towards the funding of research and development
activities at Mascoma, as well as the construction of operating facilities.
As part of this new investment, Cliff Cook, senior vice president of
supply, distribution and planning at Marathon, has joined the Mascoma
board of directors.
With the completion of this round of financing, Mascoma has raised approximately
$100 million in equity investment. Mascoma has also received commitments
for over $100 million in state and federal grants, including the recent
awarding of a $26 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Mascoma has raised significant equity from venture capital investments
and secured more than $60 million in state and federal grants, including
the recent awarding of a $26 million grant from the United States Department
Mascoma’s single-step cellulose-to-ethanol method, called Consolidated
Bioprocessing, or CBP, lowers costs by limiting additives and enzymes
used in other biochemical processes.
Based in Boston, privately held Mascoma is using proprietary microorganisms
developed at the company’s laboratories in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and
is collaborating with research partners globally to identify and patent
additional biomass-to-ethanol technologies.
Mascoma is testing its CBP technology and expects to begin producing
ethanol later this year at its demonstration plant under construction
in Rome, New York. Mascoma also has partnered with The University of
Tennessee to develop a switchgrass-to-ethanol pilot facility near Knoxville,
Tennessee, and is pursuing opportunities in the state of Michigan.