NEW YORK Oct 28 Xethanol Corp XNL.A said on
Tuesday it has changed its name and shifted the focus of its
business from cellulosic ethanol to tapping energy from rotting
The new company, Global Energy Holdings Group GNH.N, will
now focus on tapping methane from landfills. Rotting garbage
gives off methane, a greenhouse gas about 21 times stronger
than carbon dioxide, that can be purified and burned in the
home or to generate electricity.
"It's like the most abundant feedstock and it's just
sitting there," said David Ames, the company's president and
CEO, said about the abundance of untapped landfills.
Ames said the company shifted to methane because the
cellulosic ethanol market is too difficult amid falling prices
for the alternative motor fuel.
"You can make cellulosic at a price but it's not going to
be economical when there are depressed prices for ethanol,"
Cash ethanol prices in the Midwest have fallen about $1.20,
to about $1.70 a gallon, since June as oil prices have
plummeted amid the economic downturn.
Several companies aim to make cellulosic ethanol from the
tough woody bits of non-food crop plants such as switchgrass
and poplar trees. Cellulosic is seen as a way to boost domestic
low-carbon fuel output that would not be blamed for helping to
boost food prices.
Ames is skeptical that cellulosic will change the U.S.
energy system. He said difficulties associated with making the
fuel will not be eased by making it in bigger batches.
"You can scale widgets, but you can't scale chemistry," he
At one point, Ames, who had retired after making his money
in the cable modem business, was an activist investor in
Xethanol. The company's board appointed him as chief executive
of the old company.
Xethanol announced plans in January to scrap two cellulosic
ethanol plants. Global Energy Holdings will continue to operate
a smaller plant that aims to make cellulosic from orange
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Christian Wiessner)