Coskata, one of the leading producers of the next-generation of biofuels made from non-foodstock sources, has taken one more step towards bringing its vision of a sustainable "cellulosic" future to reality by opening its new Project Lighthouse facility outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to Bill Roe, president and CEO of Coskata, "This facility is demonstrating that our efficient, affordable and flexible conversion technology is ready for commercialization. The next step is to build full-scale facilities and begin licensing our technology to project developers, project financiers and strategic partners." One of those key strategic partners is General Motors, which is already receiving and evaluating biofuel from Project Lighthouse. GM, which already has more that five million flex-fuel vehicles on the road worldwide and is looking to make over half of the vehicles its sells E85-capable by 2012 will have 17 different flex-fuel models in U.S. showrooms for 2010.
Specializing in making FlexEthanol from everything from wood biomass and sustainable energy crops to agricultural and construction waste, Coskata plans to use Project Lighthouse to further its case that efficiently produced advanced biofuels will be able to reduce greenhouse gasses by as much as 96 percent compared to conventional gasoline, while using less than half the water that it takes to get a gallon of gasoline. Coskata claims that its non grain-based ethanol is nearly seven times as "energy positive" as the fossil fuel used creating it, which also addresses another criticism of the conventional ethanol-production process. Although Project Lighthouse will only be able to manufacture about 50,000 gallons of biofuel annually, its "minimum scale engineering" is sufficient allow direct application of the processes employed there to the 50-million and 100-million gallon facilities that Coskata is gearing up to build in the years ahead.