Coskata has begun producing small amounts of ethanol at a pilot plant at its offices in Warrenville, Ill., and has started building its 40,000-gallon-per-year demonstration plant, Chief Marketing Officer Wes Bolsen told Greentech Media this week.
The Khosla Ventures-backed startup made a splash in January when it announced a partnership with General Motors and claimed it could make ethanol for less than $1 per gallon (see With GM Deal in Hand, Coskata Promises $1 Ethanol).
GM had originally hoped the pilot plant, which is only "producing at a liters and gallons kind of scale," would be completed before the startup came out of stealth mode in January, Richard Tobey, vice president of research and development and engineering, said at the time.
While the plant opened a few weeks late, it has been operating for a couple of months, Bolsen said. The plant has helped increase the efficiency of Coskata's technology, and its organisms can produce ethanol twice as efficiently as they could in January
, he said.
The bugs can produce 100 times as much ethanol from a dry ton of material as they could in 2006
, when the team began working with them, he said, adding that the efficiency levels are six to nine months ahead of schedule.