A biofuel startup [Coskata] in Illinois can make ethanol from just about anything organic for less than $1 per gallon, and it wouldn't interfere with food supplies, company officials said.
Coskata uses existing gasification technology to convert almost any organic material into synthesis gas, which is a mix of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Rather than fermenting that gas or using thermo-chemical catalysts to produce ethanol, Coskata pumps it into a reactor containing bacteria that consume the gas and excrete ethanol. ... 99.7 percent pure ethanol.
The method seems to have the ticks to several important factors:
- cheaper than gasoline by about 1 dollar,
- can be produced locally (near the feedstock) reducing the need of feedstock transportation, (another important factor in reducing green house gas and cost)
If you're in Orange County, you can use municipal waste. If you're in the Pacific Northwest, you can use wood waste. Florida has sugar. The Midwest has corn. Each region has been blessed with the ability to grow its own biomass.
- a net energy gain of 7.7 times (compared with typical corn ethanol production of 1.3 times)