The development allows Coskata and GM to move forward in their goals to get a pilot plant up and running in Pennsylvania by the start of next year and a 50million gallon per year ethanol plant running by 2011. Coskata believes that by using multiple gasifiers, they will be able to process between 1,500 and 3,000 tons of biomass per day. Their business plan also estimates that by using and reinvesting these profits, Coskata will be able to expand to establish 20 biorefineries per year by 2015, which would allow for the widescale production of ethanol from cellulosic wastes and allow up to 35% of gasoline fuel demand to be offset by ethanol.
This is all good news but highly hypothetical, of course. Although I'm sure they are aware of the difficulties, Coskata mentions the goal of engineering their bacteria to produce bio-butanol, a fuel that would have an energy density much closer to that of gasoline. However, butanol is highly toxic to bacteria, even at relatively low levels, so it remains to be seen whether this idea will pan out or not.