Mascoma, Chevron Technology Ventures enter into feedstock supply agreement

By Erin Voegele | September 15, 2009
Report posted Sept. 15, 2009, at 3:50 p.m. CST

New Hampshire-based Mascoma Corp. recently announced it has entered into a two-year feedstock processing and lignin supply agreement with Chevron Technology Ventures, a division of Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

Under the agreement, CTV will provide a variety of lignocellulosic feedstocks to Mascoma. According to a Mascoma spokeswoman, the feedstock material will primarily consist of woodchips, agricultural waste and energy crops, such as switchgrass. Mascoma will convert these feedstock materials into cellulosic ethanol at the company's 200,000 gallon per year demonstration-scale facility in Rome, N.Y. The lignin material produced as a byproduct of Mascoma's cellulosic ethanol process will be provided to CTV for evaluation and testing.

CTV will conduct experiments on the waste lignin to evaluate the possibility of converting the material into petroleum replacement fuels, such as renewable jet fuel and diesel products, said a Mascoma spokeswoman. Although the lignin research will be conducted at CTV's laboratory, both CTV and Mascoma will be working collaboratively to develop the technology.

"This is an important moment for us at Mascoma," said Jim Flatt, Mascoma's president. "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. It has been our goal all along to make our process as integrated and sustainable as possible."

According to information released by Mascoma, the company is hopeful that the technology developed with CTV will be suitable for a wide variety of feedstocks. Mascoma is currently in the process of developing a full-scale cellulosic ethanol production facility in Kinross, Mich. The company currently plans to break ground on the facility during the first half of 2010, with production beginning in 2013.