17 Aug Madison business receives $115,000 of new state biofuels funding
Madison, Wis. – A new biofuels company spun out of Lucigen Corp. will receive two prominent visitors on Friday, and also be presented with the second of two state grants.
C5-6, which will produce enzymes for use in the development of biofuels, will receive a $115,000 grant as part of the Bio-Based Industry Initiative of Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle. Doyle was on hand to announce the grant, which is part of $1 million in new state funding for renewable energy, and he was joined by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who served as Secretary of Energy in the Clinton Administration.
It is the second state grant to be awarded to C5-6, which will be led by former Lucigen executive John Biondi. The other grant, worth 45,000, was awarded by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
Biondi said the $160,000 in state money, plus a line of credit from Johnson Bank, will allow Lucigen to spin off C5-6 while the new entity attempts to raise private equity capital.
The governor also will present a $90,000 grant to CBT Wear Parts, Inc., a Richland Center manufacturer of replacement parts for industrial processing equipment, and its partner Growing Power, a Milwaukee non-profit urban farm and training center that teaches farming and food processing. The grant will help the organizations develop their production of natural gas from food waste.
C5-6 is the exclusive licensee of Lucigen’s molecular cloning technology, which will be used to produce enzymes used in the development of alterative fuels.
“Our tools are cloning tools,” Biondi stated. “We clone genetic material previously thought to be unclonable, and with very little material to work with.”
From this material, the company will extract enzymes and grow them in sufficient numbers for use in biofuel development. Enzymes are the catalysts that are used to convert starch into sugar in the corn ethanol process, and they also breakdown cellulose and hemi-cellulose into 5 and 6-carban sugar molecules – hence the company name.
Company officials believe they can improve productivity of the existing corn ethanol process by as much as 10 percent.
At C5-6, Biondi will be joined by former Lucigen employees that served on the scientific side of the business, including Phillip Brumm and Spencer Hermanson. The two companies will share Lucigen CFO Rick Remechatis.
While it looks for a separate facility, C5-6 also will share office space with Lucigen, which is located at 2120 W. Greenview Dr., Madison, through the middle of 2007, Biondi said.
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