Massachusetts-based Mascoma Corporation is to build a cellulosic ethanol plant in Michigan in its race to be the first in the US to produce ethanol from wood on a commercial scale.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is working with Mascoma on a tax incentive package for the project, which will turn the state’s abundant, non-food plant life into fuel.
Unlike most current biofuel production operations, Mascoma’s Michigan cellulosic plant will make ethanol from mainly wood chips and other non-food agricultural crops. Most of the US’s biofuel facilities now in production, or under construction, convert corn and other food crops into fuel.
The company chose to locate the plant in Michigan based on the expertise of its two university partners, Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University, and the abundance of forests in the region.
The company is presently in the process of identifying a site for the plant. It anticipates investing up to $150m in the facility, which is expected to employ 20 to 40 full-time employees and to create more than 100 construction jobs, up to 300 forestry jobs and another 150-200 transportation and maintenance jobs.