Brazil’s oil giant Petrobras is investing $11 million in upstart cellulosic ethanol producer KL Energy, reports Christopher Helman on his Forbes blog, Southwest Bureau.
The Rapid City, S.D. company has devised a method to make ethanol out of wood chips — a smarter way to make ethanol than using heavily subsidized corn, especially in wooded parts of the country with millions of acres of trees killed by the ongoing plague of pine beetles.
The deal with Petrobras will fund expansion of KL’s demonstration plant in Upton, Wyo., and help the companies explore whether KL’s tree-digesting process will also work on sugarcane bagasse — the stalks and fibrous residue left over after the cane is harvested.
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