Range Fuels Inc has secured more than US$100m in second round funding as it moves to complete the first phase of its cellulosic ethanol plant in Georgia.

The plant will be the first facility in the US capable of producing ethanol from woodwaste on a commercial-scale. The first phase is due for completion in 2009 and will produce 20 million gallons of ethanol and mixed alcohols per year, although the completed site will have the capacity to produce 120 million gallons.

It will source woodwaste from forests in the state of Georgia, where it says sustainable and renewable biomass is available in abundance.

Passport Capital, Leaf Clean Energy Company, BlueMountain, Kholsa Ventures and PCG Clean Energy Technology Fund were the main investors that supplied funds for the project through the second round,

“Range Fuels has an enormous opportunity and is the company closest to commercialising cellulosic ethanol,” said Walther Lovato, portfolio manager at Passport Capital.

“Range Fuels projects a cost advantage over both corn ethanol and biochemical processes and offers a significant investment advantage over other technologies.”

The thermo-chemical process used to create cellulosic ethanol produces “significantly more ethanol per tonne of biomass than biochemical processes” according to Range Fuels, reducing the demand for land and woodwaste.