coskata ethanol

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Coskata Ethanol

Ethanol is most famously made out of sugar cane and corn, but there are other sources. Coskata Inc. is a company that explores such sources. Coskata ethanol is made from various input materials such as biomass, agricultural and municipal wastes and other carbonaceous material.

Coskata ethanol uses proprietary microorganisms and patented bioreactor designs, which have enabled the company to produce FlexEthanol™, or feedstock flexible ethanol. Coskata combines the two most common ways of making biofuel: fermenting sugars with the help of microbes and chemical reactions carried out under high temperatures and pressures.

The company uses a three-step process in the production of Coskata ethanol:

  1. Incoming material converted to synthesis gas (gasification)
  2. Fermentation of synthesis gas into ethanol (bio-fermentation)
  3. Separation and recovery of ethanol (separations)

  4. One of Coskata ethanol’s unique features is that Coskata's proprietary microorganisms eliminate the need for costly enzymatic pre-treatments, and the bio-fermentation occurs at low pressures and temperatures, reducing operational costs. In addition, the Coskata ethanol process has the potential to yield over 100 gallons of ethanol per ton of dry carbonaceous input material, reducing both operational and capital costs. Coskata's exclusively licensed separation technology has the potential to improve the separations and recovery component of ethanol production.

    In recognition to Coskata ethanol’s method and prospects, the company was included in a list of one of 2010’s 50 most innovative companies in the world by the editors of MIT Technology Review, a list of companies with promising technologies, be them established, sprawling corporations or small, fledgling start-ups with initial venture capital investments. The inclusion criteria also took into account the company’s business models, strategies for deploying and scaling up their technologies and their chances to succeed.

    The next step for Coskata ethanol is to show that its technology will be able to produce fuels at high yields and at low costs at the larger scales needed for commercial production. Some experts believe that increasing the size of operations of biological-based processes lead to unexpected changes, including whole populations of organisms suddenly dying out. Coskata is in the process of building a demonstration plant that it hopes will prove that its organisms are resilient and stable.