Mascoma Corporation

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This article is about biofuel producer. For other uses, see Mascoma.
Mascoma Corporation
Private company
Industry Biofuels, cellulosic ethanol
Founded 2005
Headquarters Lebanon, New Hampshire
Key people

CEO : Bill Brady

Founders : Robert Johnsen, Lee Lynd and Charles Wyman
Number of employees

Mascoma Corporation is a U.S. biofuel company that produces cellulosic ethanol made from wood and switchgrass.[1] Headquartered in Lebanon, New Hampshire, the company was founded in 2005 by Robert Johnsen (CEO), Lee Lynd and Charles Wyman, two professors from Dartmouth College.[2] The company's founders have continued to work with Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering on its research into ethanol engineering.[3] The company is named after Mascoma Lake, which is near Lebanon.


The company was first financed by Flagship Ventures and Khosla Ventures in 2006.[4] Also in 2006, the company raised attracted additional attention with two private financing rounds led by General Catalyst Partners that raised $34 million and through its acquisition of Celsys BioFuels Inc. of Indianapolis.[2] Also in 2007, it received a US$14.8 million grant from two government agencies—the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority—for the creation of a plant in Rochester, New York, that would demonstrate the biomass-to-ethanol process.[5]


In September 2007, Mascoma announced plans to partner with the University of Tennessee to build the first U.S. plant for the commercial production of switchgrass-based ethanol. In June 2008, however, the projected plant failed to meet its anticipated funding levels, and Mascoma withdrew from the partnership. Instead, it took on the role as technical adviser.[6]

In May 2008, the company entered a partnership with General Motors to develop cellulosic ethanol based on Mascoma’s formula that enables the biochemical conversion of nongrain biomass into low-carbon biofuel.[7] In the same month, Mascoma received a $10 million investment from the Houston-based oil and gas company Marathon Oil.[8]

In October 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy gave the company a $26 million grant to develop a cellulosic fuel production facility.[9] In the same month, the state government of Michigan gave the company a $23.5 million grant to bring that proposed facility to Chippewa County, Michigan.[9]


On April 14, 2009, Mascoma Corp. announced plans to move its corporate headquarters from Boston to a new research laboratory in New Hampshire. The move would consolidate most of Mascoma's operations, which, until now, have been divided among Boston; a demonstration facility in Rome, New York; a Process and Development laboratory in Woburn, Massachusetts; and a lab in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where many of the company's employees already are based. Researchers in Lebanon are working to convert plant material such as wood chips and corn stover into biofuel.

Technological breakthrough[edit]

On May 7, 2009, the company announced a major technological breakthrough in the field of consolidated bioprocessing by utilizing a low-cost strategy for processing of biofuels from cellulosic biomass, which enables high yield of ethanol and cellulaze in single step without the costly, separate usage of the cellulaze enzyme.[10]

Other biofuel companies (such as Gate Fuels [11] Qteros[12]) also claim to have developed a one-step process to produce ethanol or value-added chemicals from plant material.

As of March 2013, the company web site says: "We plan to initially target the large and established first generation corn ethanol industry with our proprietary Mascoma Grain Technology, or MGT, yeast product. We are also working with leading industry participants to develop and construct commercial scale facilities to convert hardwood feedstocks into cellulosic ethanol."[13]


External links[edit]