A Toronto-based company called Woodland Biofuels Inc. has attracted its first institutional investor, Investeco Capital Corp., which has funded $1.25 million (Canadian) of what is expected to be a $3.25 million investment. Like others in the market, including Montreal-based Enerkem, the company uses a gasification process to break down wood biomass and agricultural residue. It can also process human and animal sewage “sludge” and municipal solid organic waste. The gas is then processed through a series of catalytic reactors to produce ethanol, distillation water and steam. Investeco determined the process was “extremely efficient” and sufficiently scaleable to support Woodland’s march toward commercialization. Woodland, it should be pointed out, was recently granted $9.8 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada toward development of a demonstration plant for its process.
More and more of these cellulosic ethanol plays are coming out of the woodwork, so to speak, suggesting that perhaps the quest for non-corn ethanol is closer — as I’ve said in past posts — than initially thought. At the very least the flurry of activity and funding is a good sign.