BROOMFIELD, Colo. --- Range Fuels, a company researching the means to bring cellulosic ethanol to market, has raised nearly $100 million in new funding from Khosla Ventures and an undisclosed investor, the Industry Standard reported.
Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, had already committed $25 million to Range Fuels. In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, Khosla Ventures is backing a number of biofuel startups, primarily those involved in cellulosic ethanol rather than corn-based ethanol.
Range Fuels recently announced plans to build its first ethanol plant in Treutlen County, Ga. The company estimated 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 is expected to create over 70 new jobs for the area.
"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. "Thanks to Georgia’s environmentally sensitive stewardship of its forests for the past 50 years, Range Fuels can take what is traditionally considered a waste product, and turn it into a source of transportation fuel."
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. Its technology transforms otherwise useless products such as wood chips, agricultural wastes, grasses, and cornstalks as well as hog manure, municipal garbage, sawdust and paper pulp 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.