Mascoma Corp., a company solely focused on converting cellulosic biomass to ethanol, announced last week that a new partnership with Dartmouth College will bring commercial production of cellulosic ethanol one step closer. The partnership gives Mascoma access to several of Dartmouth's patents, and is not too surprising, considering the history of Mascoma's co-founder. Dartmouth Engineering professor Lee Lynd (pictured), is an expert in microbial cellulose conversion and a cellulosic ethanol production pioneer. He also co-founded Mascoma and is the company's chief scientific officer. The college has taken an undisclosed equity position in the company. Flagship Ventures and Khosla Ventures have also sent some funding to Mascoma. Ethanol moneybags Vinod Khosla serves as Mascoma's Chairman of the Board.
The research at Mascoma/Dartmouth is focused on finding "advanced biocatalysts" that will "significantly reduce the cost of ethanol and expand the use of ethanol production from a wide range of cellulosic material," said Alla Kan, Director of the Technology Transfer Office at Dartmouth.