Coskata Makes Fuel from Corn Husks and Gets GM Boost

Sometimes people comment to me on how much I like reading. I read the entire Wall St. Journal, much to my daughter’s surprise.”You’re always reading, Dad,” she told me, as I finished up the last section. Sometimes my family gets mad at me and says I’m ignoring them (the NJ ones anyway) but I’m not…I just need to read, all of the time.

How else would I find out about such fascinating topics as GM buying into a cellulosic-ethanol company?

I first heard of this firm, Coskata Inc, while riding a bus to NYC last year. It’s founded by a former VC named Vinod Khosla, who in the Wired article was preaching about how someday we will make fuel from things like corn husks, weeds and sawdust.

At the time I read this, California was on the verge of passing a law that would have taxed oil companies on their leases and would have generated billions for research in cellulose-derived energy. Unfortunately, the bill failed so none of this money was passed on for research.

GM’s investment in Coskata means that the technology will make great strides, and since the raw materials for this fuel is virtually anything with cellulose in it, the supply is unlimited and free. More than a dozen companies are rushing to develop this far-ranging concept, since there isn’t enough room to grow all the corn we need and the price for corn-based ethanol is sinking fast.