WASHINGTON, D.C. – General Motors Corp. and Mascoma Corp. have formed a strategic relationship to develop cellulosic ethanol focused on Mascoma's single-step biochemical conversion of non-grain biomass into low-carbon alternative fuels to help address increasing energy demand. The relationship, which includes an undisclosed equity investment by GM, complements an earlier investment in a cellulosic ethanol startup that uses a thermo-chemical process to make ethanol from non-grain sources.
"Taken together, these technologies represent what we see as the best in the cellulosic ethanol future and cover the spectrum in science and commercialization," said GM President Fritz Henderson. "Demonstrating the viability of sustainable non-grain based ethanol is critical to developing the infrastructure to support the flex-fuel vehicle market."
GM offers vehicles that can run on ordinary gasoline, E-85, or any combination of the two. There are more than 7 million flex-fuel vehicles on U.S. roads, 3 million of which are GM cars and trucks.
"These investments in leading-edge firms supports belief that ethanol has the greatest near-term potential as a clean-burning, renewable fuel that can help reduce oil dependence," Henderson said.
GM's multi-dimensional involvement with Mascoma will include projects to evaluate materials and other fuels for specific engine applications as well as collaborating on Mascoma's efforts to expand its commercialization projects globally, including promotion of increased biofuels distribution.