DOE, Michigan Give $49.5 M to Mascoma Corp. for Cellulosic Fuel Facility

The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Michigan have provided $26 million, and $23.5 million, respectively to Mascoma Corp. of Boston, Mass., for the development of a cellulosic fuel production facility that uses non-food biomass to convert woodchips into fuel, according to an Oct. 7 press release.

Using proprietary microorganisms and enzymes developed at the company's laboratories in Lebanon, N.H., Mascoma is deploying advanced technologies that enable the creation of fuel from a range of non-food biomass feedstocks.

The facility will be located in Chippewa County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the town of Kinross. The funding will accelerate the company's construction of the facility and the scale-up of its technology process while also paving the pathway to commercial low-carbon and sustainable fuel production in Michigan.

Mascoma chose to locate the facility in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after an extensive review process of other location options. The decision was based largely on the support provided by the state, the availability of extensive sustainable feedstock in forests and other agricultural biomass resources in the region, and the expertise available through the Michigan-based project partners and workforce. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state's economic development arm, has become a national leader by attracting renewable energy businesses to Michigan.

"Mascoma is pleased and honored to receive this important funding from the DOE and the State of Michigan," said Bruce A. Jamerson, chair and chief executive officer of Mascoma Corp. "This funding will allow us to accelerate commercial production of low cost, low carbon fuel that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote energy independence," he added.

The production facility is expected to produce 40 million gallons of ethanol and other valuable fuel products per year. General Motors Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp., which are both investors in Mascoma, are providing support for this project.

"Mascoma and the Department of Energy recognize the potential northern Michigan and our workforce hold for developing alternative energy sources," U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak said. "Mascoma's proposed cellulosic fuels facility will be the first of its kind in the nation to produce ethanol from timber. This important federal-state-private partnership will put northern Michigan on the forefront of this developing technology, create hundreds of jobs in our community, and the potential for many more. I am pleased to have played a role in helping to bring this significant investment to Chippewa County."

Mascoma is partnering on this project with a well-established natural-resources company, JM Longyear, based in Marquette, Mich. Longyear was founded 120 years ago and is experienced in timber, mining and project management.

The collaboration will involve the formation of a new company, Frontier Renewable Resources, which will own the project. In addition, Mascoma will team up with Michigan State and Michigan Tech Universities to tailor Mascoma's technology and supply chain options for the specific Michigan feedstocks used in production.

Mascoma is developing demonstration and commercial scale production facilities globally. For more information, visit

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