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By Robert Rapier on Aug 18, 2008 with no responses

Coskata Responds

Following my previous essay explaining my skepticism that Coskata can make ethanol economically with their process, Wes Bolsen (see his profile here), the Chief Marketing Officer & Vice President of Coskata dropped by and made some comments.

One thing I believe in strongly is fair play, so I will provide his entire comments below without interruption. Wes and I plan to speak on Wednesday, and I will ask some pointed, and on the record questions. If you have a specific question that you would like to see me ask, let me know in the comments following this essay. I already have a list, and I can assure you that they are not to be found in Coskata’s FAQ. My questions will focus on things like the patents and patents pending, who is commercially using the plasma gasification technology and membrane separation technology, whether the yields and selectivities are public information, etc.

Without further ado, Wes’ response:

This is Wes Bolsen, CMO & Vice President of Coskata. I am really sorry that we were not able to talk before you posted this. I will always try to make myself available.

The division you did above was performed properly, you just didn’t have complete information. The ~$25 million project that Coskata is doing in Pennsylvania includes operating costs for approximately a year, capital for improvements to the Westinghouse site before we even get there, and other expenses not incurred on other plants. Either way, I agree with you, commercial demonstrations, even if the Capex were as low as $10 Million for Coskata’s portion is expensive. In fact, that is why we would never want to build a 1 or 2 Million gallon plant, or anything like this for making ethanol.

If you want the approximate capital cost for Coskata’s 100 Million gallon per year facility, it is approximately $400 million or $4 per gallon of installed cost. This is the engineering design that has been signed off by a major US engineering firm based on 2008 vendor quoted materials and process flow diagrams. The production cost is still looking to be less than $1/gallon, which is confirmed more and more every day that our pilot facility outside of Chicago runs. The Pennsylvania facility you are talking about is simply the final step in Coskata’s rapid commercialization.

Hopefully this additional information is helpful to you and the readers of the blog. Like I said, I am always willing to talk through our numbers, our strategy, and how Coskata is working to commercialize the technology. Feel free to contact me any time.


Wes Bolsen
CMO & Vice President

More from me after I speak with Wes.