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HomeAll NewsTerragia Biofuel raises $6 million for ‘Novel’ biomass conversion process

Terragia Biofuel raises $6 million for ‘Novel’ biomass conversion process

Terragia Biofuel, a technology startup aiming to propel the next generation of biofuels, has announced it has raised a $6 million seed round led by Engine Ventures and Energy Impact Partners (EIP). The company intends to utilize the funding to advance the commercialization of its innovative biology-based approach to converting cellulosic biomass into ethanol and other valuable products, to expand its employee base, and to foster partnerships with major biofuel producers.

Terragia employs engineered thermophilic bacteria to decompose cellulosic biomass and transform it into ethanol and other chemical compounds. The company’s technology circumvents key factors contributing to the high expenses associated with traditional cellulosic biofuel production through a one-step “consolidated” bioprocessing method without the need for additional enzymes, while also utilizing mechanical disruption during fermentation (“cotreatment”) instead of thermochemical pretreatment.

Director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Martin Keller, remarks, “Cellulosic biofuels offer a pathway to low-carbon fuels for aviation and other challenging-to-electrify modes of transportation, as well as carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, both of which are crucial for climate stabilization. The one-step biological conversion of cellulosic biomass without added enzymes or thermochemical pretreatment presents clear potential for cost reduction compared to other process concepts.” Terragia’s CTO and Co-Founder, Lee Lynd, a Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and Director of the Advanced Second Generation Biofuel Lab at the University of Campinas, Brazil, adds, “Converting ethanol into fuels for planes, ships, and trucks represents a leading solution for approximately half of the future global transportation energy demand, where electrification is likely impractical, amounting to a trillion-dollar market. With full market penetration, Terragia’s technology is projected to mitigate 3 gigatons of CO2 emissions annually and enable the capture of an even larger amount of CO2.”

Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Center for Bioenergy Innovation and the São Paulo Research Foundation, as well as grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation, in addition to private capital, Terragia’s ongoing technology development is carried out in collaboration with Dartmouth College and the University of Campinas.

“Terragia has a compelling opportunity to succeed where others in the cellulosic biofuel industry have struggled. The company’s technology offers a radically different approach that utilizes biology to address the high costs and scale challenges of conventional cellulosic biofuel production,” states Katie Rae, CEO and Managing Partner of Engine Ventures. “With a seasoned management team, extensive industry experience, and an ongoing joint development agreement with a major U.S. biofuel producer, Terragia’s market strategy not only aims to meet future global transportation demand but also to deliver low-carbon biofuel products at a price point competitive with fossil fuels.”

“We are thrilled to support Terragia in their endeavor to revolutionize cellulosic ethanol and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production,” says Ashwin Shashindranath, Partner at Energy Impact Partners. “Low-carbon fuels are a fundamental component of the energy transition, and we believe that Terragia possesses the right team and technology to emerge as a leader in this field.”

Additionally, Terragia has announced leadership changes, with Kristin Brief appointed as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Brief joins co-founders Lee Lynd, who transitions to Chief Technology Officer, Bill Brady, Board Chair, and Chris Herring, Vice President of Technology Development.

Brief expresses, “It is a privilege to lead Terragia as CEO. Throughout my 20-year career, I have dedicated myself to advancing early-stage clean energy startups, and Terragia’s technology, team, and path to commercialization set it apart. We have a distinctive opportunity to make a transformative impact on climate outcomes while also significantly increasing revenues for biofuel producers.”



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