Gov. Rick Perry today highlighted the importance of pursuing new technologies to find sustainable solutions for Texas' growing energy needs. The governor announced a $2.75 million investment through the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) in Terrabon Inc. for the commercialization of its technology to convert non-food biomass into bio fuels.
"As our population grows by about 1,000 people a day, we must ensure our energy supply keeps up with increasing demand," Gov. Perry said. "Now is the time to tackle that challenge, and we're using the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and this investment in Terrabon's biofuels technology as a key tool in that effort."
Terrabon's technology converts materials such as municipal solid waste, sewage, forest product residues and non-edible energy crops into chemicals and secondary alcohols that can be further refined to produce non-ethanol gasoline, jet fuel or diesel. The company is partnering with Texas A&M University to commercialize this technology.
"This investment by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund will play an integral role both in confirming the potential of our technologies and in expediting our plans for commercial deployment," Terrabon CEO Gary Luce said.
Diversifying the state's energy portfolio is a priority for Gov. Perry. Texas has already installed more wind power than any other state and all but four countries, and is developing new transmission lines that will move more than 18,000 megawatts across the state. Texas has attracted more than 9,000 megawatts of energy from the development of next generation nuclear power plants. The state is also looking to add new clean coal plants, which will capture and sequester carbon dioxide emissions or use carbon dioxide to increase production from Texas oil fields.
The TETF is a $200 million initiative created by the Texas Legislature in 2005 at the governor's request, and reauthorized in 2007 and again in 2009. A 17-member advisory committee of high-tech leaders, entrepreneurs and research experts reviews potential projects and recommends funding allocations to the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House. TETF has allocated more than $157 million in funds to 112 early stage companies, and $161 million in grant matching and research superiority funds to Texas universities.