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EdeniQ, an Encino, Calif.-based cellulosic ethanol startup, has quietly wrapped up a $33 million round of funding as part of its spinoff from parent company Altra Biofuels. PE Hub reports that Advanced Equities Investments and Draper Fisher Jurvetson were the lead investors; other backers include Element Partners, Angeleno Group, The Westly Group, Omninet, DAG Ventures and Northgate Capital.

EdeniQ claims its processes for converting non-food biomass sources into cellulosic ethanol can be implemented for “a fraction of the $6 to $12 per gallon capital cost” it would normally take to build a cellulosic facility using current technologies. The firm is focused on developing processes to make ethanol from agricultural waste like corn stover, woodchips and rice straw without requiring a complete overhaul of the existing biofuel infrastructure.

One of its goals is to bring the cost of cellulosic ethanol below $1.50 per gallon in the near future. EdeniQ certainly isn’t alone: A large number of startups — some using synthetic biology, others using similar enzymatic processes — is racing to bring a viable, cost-effective biofuel production method to market first. The best hope may still lie in algae, which need only water and sunlight to grow. Sapphire Energy, a San Diego-based algal biofuel firm, has received over $50 million to develop algae that can produce a substance similar to crude oil.

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