Range Fuels Plans Mass Cellulosic Facility

Range Fuels announced a new strategic partnership with Emerson ( EMR) that aims to build America's first industrial-scale cellulosic biofuels plant.

Range will build the facility in Soperton, Ga., by 2010. The plant will ultimately have a production capacity of 100 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels per year.

The plant will produce ethanol and methanol from non-food biomass such as wood.

Range Fuels was recently awarded an $80 million loan guarantee by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build the plant. The loan was the first ever to be dedicated to a cellulosic biofuels program.

Range Fuels is a privately held company based in Broomfield, Colo. It is funded by a number of greentech venture capital firms, including Khosla Ventures.

If successful, the project will leapfrog the cellulosic project announced just last month by BP ( BP) and Verenium ( VRNM). That proposal calls for a 36 million gallon-per-year plant to be built by 2012.

Shares of Emerson were recently moving 6.2% lower at $24.78. BP was sliding 1.5% at $35.29, and Verenium was unchanged at 35 cents a share.

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