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Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon

 
titanic1
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User ID: 872774
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04/30/2010 07:08 AM
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Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
Start-up ZeaChem has begun construction of a plant to convert wood chips into ethanol and specialty chemicals, a small step forward for the long-awaited cellulosic ethanol industry.

The Lakewood, Colo.-based company said that the plant will be in Oregon and produce about 250,000 gallons of ethanol a year. That's far less than it originally projected but still at a size that will allow the company to scale up to a commercial-size facility in 2011, said ZeaChem CEO James Imbler on Friday.

A few years ago, lots of venture capital money flowed to companies with processes to make ethanol from wood chips, grasses, or trash. But investor and popular interest has cooled, in part because progress has been halting, with only a few demonstration-scale facilities operating in the U.S.

ZeaChem's process is different from many other companies in that it uses a bacteria called acetogen, which is found in termite stomachs, to break down biomass without the use of enzymes.

The company contracted with Hazen Research to construct the facility, which will be built using different modules that can be transported in truck-size containers, said Imbler. The goal is to have the operation online next year making both ethanol and specialty chemicals, including ethyl acetate.

The plant is financed with $34 million in venture capital that ZeaChem raised at the beginning of the year.

To finance its commercial-scale plant, which is planned to make between 25 million and 50 million gallons of ethanol per year, ZeaChem plans on partnering with oil refiners and pharmaceutical companies. Imbler expects that financiers will be wary of funding first-of-a-kind cellulosic ethanol plants but will invest once processes have been demonstrated at scale.

Updated on November 18 at 5:00 p.m. PT with corrected figure for projected annual production.

[link to news.cnet.com]

More information:

[link to news.zdnet.com]

They say it will make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 956974
Sweden
04/30/2010 07:17 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
They say it will make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
But the poor Africans hav nothing to at, as their lands have been sold to the ethanol using countries?
Is that the plot?

Why always inventing solutions by abusing others?
I do not comprehend that concept.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 956625
Australia
04/30/2010 07:20 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
Start-up ZeaChem has begun construction of a plant to convert wood chips

And where would you suppose we get those chips?
Grow a Brian much?
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 956625
Australia
04/30/2010 07:21 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
They say it will make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
But the poor Africans hav nothing to at, as their lands have been sold to the ethanol using countries?
Is that the plot?

Why always inventing solutions by abusing others?
I do not comprehend that concept.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 956974

Yes its the plot, environmentalists are terrorists, religious extremists.
titanic1 (OP)

User ID: 872774
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04/30/2010 07:22 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
I think they were planning on using waste woodchips, grass and trash in their plant.
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 431716
United States
04/30/2010 07:25 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
its great that they wont have to use corn if this takes hold but at the same time its not that great for cars since it lowers mpg

A. 76,000 = BTU of energy in a gallon of ethanol

B. 116,090 = BTU of energy in a gallon of gasoline

so ethanol has only 65% the energy of gasoline so if were to switch fully from gasoline to ethanol you would lose 35% of mpg thus needing more ethanol to get the same distance of gasoline. ever since in california they made it so all gasoline has 10% ethanol i have seen a reduction of 3-4mpg. so instead of getting 26mpg im getting 22mpg. sometimes when im around the marina i get gas from there because ethanol does not mix well with some boats gas tanks so they sell gas without the ethanol and my cars runs better and i get better mileage
Anonymous Coward
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Australia
04/30/2010 07:47 AM
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Re: Bacteria found in termites stomachs to make ethanol for $1.10 a gallon
I always knew those little fuckers were perpetually pissed.