Total Joins GM, Advanced Technology Ventures In Funding Biofuels Developer Coskata

Paris-based oil company Total has joined General Motors as an investor in Coskata, according to an announcement by the cellulosic biofuels company based in Warrenville, IL.

GM invested an undisclosed amount in early 2008 and said in February this year that some of Coskata’s ethanol is being tested at the automaker’s proving grounds in Milford, MI.

“We invested in Coskata so that we could enable the rapid deployment of commercially viable and environmentally sustainable ethanol globally,” Bob Babik, GM Vehicle Emissions director, said in a statement.

The Detroit automaker says that, so far, it has produced more than 5.5 million flex-fuel vehicles, or cars and trucks that can run on a combination of gasoline and ethanol. Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, and GMC have produced flex-fuel-capable cars and trucks for the 2010 model year and GM says it is on track to make more than half of its vehicle production flex-fuel capable by 2012.

Coskata, which is funded in part by Waltham, MA-based Advanced Technology Ventures, uses microorganisms developed at the University of Oklahoma, along with the company’s bioreactor designs, to produce ethanol from practically any renewable source.

Other investors include Blackstone Cleantech Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, and Arancia. The company said previous investors joined this latest round, but would not disclose any amounts.

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