ERJ staff report (SS)
Detroit, Michigan -- General Motors has signed a deal with Coskata Inc. to use the company's biological technology to make ethanol from used tyres.
Coskata's proprietary process uses patented microorganisms and bioreactor designs to produce ethanol for less than $1 (€0.67) a gallon (3.8 litres), about half of today's cost of producing gasoline.
â€œWe are very excited about what this breakthrough will mean to the viability of biofuels and, more importantly, to our ability to reduce dependence on petroleum,â€ said GM's chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, in a 13 Jan statement.
According to Argonne National Laboratory, which analysed Coskata's process, for every unit of energy used, it generates up to 7.7 times that amount of energy, and it reduces CO2 emissions by up to 84 percent compared with a well-to-wheel analysis of gasoline.
Coskata's process uses less than a gallon of water to make a gallon of ethanol compared to three gallons or more for other processes.
Warrenville, Illinois-based Coskata can use its technology practically anywhere in the world where a carbon-based feedstock is available. For GM, this could lead to joint efforts in markets such as China, where growing energy demand and a new energy research center could jumpstart a significant effort into ethanol made from biomass, said Wagoner.
GM will receive the first ethanol from Coskata's pilot plant in the fourth quarter of 2008. The fuel will be used in testing vehicles at GM's Milford proving grounds.
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Press release from GM