Capital cost for the Coskata operation will be approximately $.60/gallon. Putting aside the obvious complexity of MSW as a feedstock (including that it must be dry and separated from metals and such to be efficiently put through a gasifier) and other so-called 'waste' and 'negative-cost' feedstock, American farmers will charge at least $40-60/ton of dry biomass, if not more when considering storage and transportation issues. So, at a minimum, capital and product feedstock will run at least a dollar per gallon of ethanol, if not more.
Next, you have the portion of the feedstock (which must also be dried, read: additional energy) to run the system. Yes, you get heat off the system to do this or that, but there is no free ride on energy. That energy will translate to something like another $.30/gallon of ethanol. Then, there is labor, overhead and all the other goodies that it takes to run an operation. That will add another $.50/gallon. Now, conservatively, or perhaps the opposite, we are easily now at $1.50/gallon, probably $2/gallon. Assuming the biological system, with the bugs dying continuously (nothing lives forever), maintenance costs on keeping the culture up, including labs, labor, etc., you very likely will have another $.25/gallon.
This pushes the likely costs close to $2/gallon and counting-without considering anything else that might affect the costs. Nothing really wrong with $2, mind you. That translates to an equivalent of about $3 bucks for gasoline production, energy for energy delivered to the wheels except that gasoline costs considerably less at the production point in the vertical integration.
GM aligns with Coskata on cellulosic ethanol; good plan or Exxon's Reliance re-visited?
***Separately, on biofilms, EarthTimes writes:
MELBOURNE, Florida, February 7, 2008-- QuoNova LLC, which is 88.7% owned by XL TechGroup, Inc., has generated preliminary in-vitro data indicating high efficacy of selected Quorum Sensing Blockers ("QSB") in inhibiting biofilm formation by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) strains and fungal organisms such as Candida sp.
QuoNova's business strategy is to develop and commercialize its proprietary QSB "disruptive technology" platform to address unmet needs in several multi-billion dollar markets including therapeutics, medical devices, consumer care, agriculture and several industrial applications.
QuoNova has optimized its proprietary QSB technology to obtain small molecules with a broad activity profile that are effective against multiple pathogenic Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains as well as fungi. These promising results, which are the subject of continuing research, further underscore the potential of QuoNova's QSB in combating the detrimental effects of biofilms, especially in clinical environments, where mixed microbial communities predominate. MRSA bacteria (hospital and community acquired) cause increasing healthcare problems due to their resistance against most conventional antibiotic therapies.