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Firm to convert sawdust, pine needles into jet fue

Terry Kulesa can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but he can make a pretty fair jet fuel out of pine needles and sawdust.

And Kulesa's company, Fort Collins-based Red Rock Biofuels, is a step closer to doing that as it announced Tuesday a partnership with Flagship Ventures to build a $200 million refinery in Oregon.

Flagship, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a venture-capital firm managing a $900 million portfolio.

"These are the guys who are going to help us get over the finish line," said Kulesa, Red Rock's CEO and co-founder.

In September, Red Rock received a $70 million federal grant to build the Lakeview, Ore., refinery. Flagship will add capital and investors, Kulesa said.

"Their product saves money for customers and offers a stable alternative to the volatile crude oil market, while reducing carbon emissions — a growing priority for companies," Brian Baynes, a Flagship partner, said in a statement.

Our Mission

To focus on sustainability, while developing regional biofuel solutions that are economically viable, socially acceptable, and meet the high environmental standards of the Pacific Northwest.


What is NARA?

Scientists from public universities, government laboratories and private industry from throughout the Northwest, and beyond, are joining together to focus on developing ways to turn one of the region's most plentiful commodities—wood and wood waste—into jet fuel.

Led by Washington State University, the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) will take a holistic approach to building a supply chain for aviation biofuel with the goal of increasing efficiency in everything from forestry operations to conversion processes. Using. . . View More


USDA NIFA

NARA is primarily supported by an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-68005-30416 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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