A two-year deal has been agreed between biofuels firm Mascoma Corp and fuel firm Chevron Corp, in an arrangement that is set to help the firm develop cellulose ethanol from wood-based non-food crops.
Mascoma says it hopes to make a commercially viable amount of cellulose ethanol by 2013. It will use woody biomass, which can be collected as bi-products of the sustainable forestry industry.
The firm is already producing a small amount of the alternative fuel at its plant in Rome, New York. However, as part of the deal, Chevron will provide Mascoma with lignocellulosic feedstock, which Mascom hopes to turn into ethanol fuel. The deal is with an arm of Chevron called Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV).
Mascoma has then agreed to provide Chevron with lignan, a chemical compound made from wood biomass that can be analysed for its potential uses.
Mascoma said, “the upgrading of our byproduct lignin to high value transportation fuels is an important step in our effort to prove the effectiveness of integrated biorefineries.”
The agreement follows increasing pressure on US car manufacturers, fuel firms and car owners to mix biofuels with diesel and petrol.