Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UMass Amherst Spinoff Raises $25 Million for Ethanol Breakthrough

20.11.2008
SunEthanol, a spinoff company from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has raised $25 million in Series B financing from a consortium of funders including BP and Soros Fund Management LLC, and is changing its name effective immediately to Qteros. The new name refers to its breakthrough Q Microbe™ technology for producing sustainable liquid fuel from non-food plants and wastes.

Leading the Series B financing is new investor Venrock, along with previous investor Battery Ventures. Also participating in the Series B financing are Soros Fund Management LLC and BP, both new, and Series A investors Long River Ventures and Camros Capital.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick announced Qteros’ new name and Series B funding in a speech Nov. 18 in Boston at the Fourth Conference on Clean Energy during Clean Energy Week in Massachusetts. Qteros has been singled out as one of the state’s premier clean-tech companies. It will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 20 along with other outstanding Massachusetts green companies at the "Green Tie Gala" at Boston’s Museum of Science.

The biofuels startup that began with UMass Amherst microbiology Professor Susan Leschine's discovery in the woods of Massachusetts of an exceptionally efficient microbe for making cellulosic ethanol will now scale up its process from the pilot plant to commercial operations, and hire additional engineers and scientists, company officials said.

Gov. Patrick has been a staunch supporter of the company, describing it as discovering and now commercializing a “transformational breakthrough.” Other state and national leaders have also recognized Qteros this year as one of the most promising emerging clean energy companies, and it has received four U.S. Department of Energy grants and a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“Qteros and the Q Microbe™ will make a major contribution to achieving the two-pronged objective of energy independence and reduced emissions of global warming gases,” said company President and CEO Bill Frey, who spent 28 years at DuPont and led DuPont’s biofuels division before taking the reins of SunEthanol in June. "We are very pleased to be working with some of the best, value-add investors in the world. These partners will allow us to get to market with people who are experts in building very large and valuable companies."

Steve Goldby, the Venrock partner on the investment, commented, “The past century has seen extraordinary innovation in chemistry, and we believe that fundamental biology will hold the secrets of world-class innovation for the next century. Qteros’ microbial approach to the production of cellulosic ethanol has the potential to revolutionize the production of clean energy for the country.”

Congress has mandated production of 36 billion gallons a year of biofuels — 16 billion gallons of which must be advanced cellulosic biofuels such as Qteros is working to produce. That would figure prominently in President-elect Obama's plan to reduce or eliminate America's dependence on foreign fossil fuels by investing $150 billion in clean energy technology over 10 years. Qteros is poised to be a key contributor to realizing that goal.

Leschine, Qteros’ Chief Scientist and co-founder, is the UMass Amherst professor who, nearly 10 years ago, first collected a sample of the Q Microbe™ near the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts. She sees the company's success as the realization of her dream of finding a “super-bug” that can leapfrog the conventional enzyme technologies in terms of cost/benefit, and help solve the world's energy crisis.

“In the past year, we've made great strides in understanding the inner workings of Q, basic knowledge that is enabling the advancement of this technology and from which Qteros is discovering ever-more productive strains of this amazing microbe,” Leschine said.

Led by Sarad Parekh, vice president of R&D, the Qteros lab team has already achieved an over 15-fold increase in productivity with its C3 (Complete Cellulosic Conversion) technology platform for using the Q Microbe™ to convert cellulosic plant material to ethanol.

“Over the last year, the SunEthanol team has demonstrated that the patented Q Microbe™ and the 'C3' process is the industry’s most advanced cellulosic ethanol technology platform,” said Jason Matlof, partner at Battery Ventures. “This infusion of capital and the addition of world-class strategic partners will further enable the team to achieve our goal of commercializing a sustainable and cost-effective cellulosic biofuels platform.”

According to Founder and Executive Vice President Jef Sharp, “This investment in Qteros during difficult financial times is a reminder that new technologies will be the generators of the clean tech future. Qteros’ success will help to ignite the next economic expansion while helping to solve climate change and sustainable energy challenges.”

“Biofuels are the only near-term alternative to gasoline for liquid transportation fuels,” added Frey. “With our company’s new financing from this group of experienced partners, we will be able to realize the full potential of the Q Microbe™ to convert cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol, and to help move America towards energy independence.”

Allison Lenthall | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.qteros.com
http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fraunhofer ISE Supports Market Development of Solar Thermal Power Plants in the MENA Region
21.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast
20.02.2018 | University of Warwick

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>