Woodland Biofuels lands new investment as demo progresses

By Susanne Retka Schill | December 17, 2012

Woodland Biofuels is on track to begin producing cellulosic ethanol early in the year, CEO Greg Nuttall told Ethanol Producer Magazine. The company began commissioning its demonstration plant in Sarnia, Ontario, in late October,  at which time, Nuttall said the company expects to have collected enough data by spring to begin planning its first commercial-scale project.

Woodland has made progress as well on the financial front, announcing an investment from the MaRS Cleantech Fund LP. "The MaRS Cleantech fund seeks technologies with the potential to revolutionize the energy sector," said Tom Rand, co-managing director of the fund. "Woodland Biofuels is on track to become the first company to profitably make renewable fuels from nonfood sources without requiring any form of subsidy. That's the kind of game-changer we target." The MaRS Cleantech Fund is a private venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech companies, investing up to $3 million per company.

Woodland Biofuels’ demonstration facility can process up to 7.2 metric tons of biomass daily, producing cellulosic ethanol from wood chips and other types of biomass, using its proprietary gasification and three-step catalytic conversion process. The company is targeting modular units that can be built at a scale to suit a particular location. "Woodland's demonstration plant will show that our technology can produce renewable fuels from cellulose, reliably and at low cost," Nuttall said.

Woodland Biofuels is a privately held Canadian company. Other investors in the $12 million demonstration plant include the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund, Investeco Capital, and David LeGresley, former vice-chairman of National Bank Financial.