Amidst growing concern that grain-based ethanol production is impacting global food supplies, GM announced today that it would continue investing in non-grain ethanol development by investing in Boston-based Mascoma Inc.
Mascoma's key offering is a single-step process to convert biomass into cellulosic ethanol. Unlike other processes, Mascoma's treatment - called Consolidated Bioprocessing - doesn't add enzymes during the conversion. Although innovative, this is slightly more conventional than the "trash-to-ethanol" conversion promoted by Coskata, GM's other ethanol partner.
This isn't a sign that GM is entering the fuel business, but will work with Mascoma to develop specific engine applications for the fuel, as well as expand its global infrastructure. On that end, Mascoma hopes to produce at least a million gallons of cellulosic ethanol each year by 2010.