Vinod Khosla’s Range Fuels has declared bankruptcy

December 5, 2011

Economic Development, Energy

Range Fuels, a manufacturing startup that planned to convert wood chips to cellulosic ethanol has declared bankruptcy, Bloomberg reports.

The company was heavily backed by venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, whose Khosla Ventures is also backing four green energy startups to which the Mississippi legislature has authorized tens of millions in state aid: Soladigm, KiOR, Stion and HCL Cleantech.

Vinod Khosla

Range Fuels received a $76 million federal loan from the George W. Bush administration in 2007 and another $80 million from the Obama administration in 2009.

The Range Fuels Georgia plant closed its doors in January. A foreclosure sale is expected for January 2012.

See the Biofuels Digest analysis here: http://biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2011/12/05/the-range-fuels-failure/

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5 Responses to “Vinod Khosla’s Range Fuels has declared bankruptcy”

  1. Reba G. Cook Says:

    If it’s a good deal, someone will do it without help from the State. If it isn’t, the legislature shouldn’t waste taxpayer money on it. But not the Mississippi Legislature! The “wood chip” company will be another fiasco foisted upon us by our not overly bright legislators.

  2. Curtis Says:

    I have no quarrel with Mr. Khosla’s mantra of “Failing” your way to success. As a tax payer I have no interest in failing with him. Politicians have proved once again they know nothing about VC except how little time it takes to loose money. “Burn through” I believe is the in phrase used by serial entrepreneurs.

    I do wonder how 100 million gallons of any liquid would leave the now closed Soperton plant over the initial stretch of dirt road. What a mess. Does anyone have any idea how many tankers it would take per day every day of a 365 day year to move that much product? And, over a dirt road. That 100 million gallons was scheduled to be moving over that dirt road by the year 2009. That dirt road to this day, Dec. 6, 2011 is not paved. Range Fuels announced virtually every day of it’s smoke and mirrors existence that it was DOA.

  3. james Says:

    @reba G. Cook
    The “wood chip” venture is a different technology than the range fuels venture. Different technologies have different inefficiencies and obstacles. It will only take a few years of operation for the state to recoup it’s initial “investment” (low interest loan, etc) in the venture through sales tax, income tax, and fuel taxes.
    @curtis
    100 million gallons of gas would have been roughly 46 truckloads a day over a 24 hr period, that is fewer than 2 trucks/hr. Assuming a 20 minute fill time per truck, this is not our of reason.
    Assumptions: 365 day operation, 6,000 gallons/truck, 24 hr/day operation, 300 GPM loading rate.
    100,000,000/365/6000/24 = 1.9 trucks/hr.

  4. Janene Kurka Says:

    Finally! While I surmise that being a powerful speaker is great, but at some point you have to perform.

  5. Inside Observer Says:

    Vinod Khosla’s Range Fuels has declared bankruptcy••••••••••••••

    Show me and others a BANKRUPTCY filing. I don’t think that you can. While Range’s Sooperton fuel facility didn’t operate anywhere near the blueprinted ‘plan’ – and 150 employees were laid off – where is a bankruptcy filing?

    You folks simply mimic others in using this bankruptcy term.

    Khosla walked away fro $80M in USDA loan guarantees – repurchasing this same facility for another of his New Zealand energy groups (Lanza Tech) and spent just $5.1M to regain title. The private investors who originally backed him lost. The Taxpayers who provided his DOE grants & USDA loans also lost.

    Specific volumes of patent IP was filed. It is being quietly marketed. This can’t happen from a bankrupt firm now can it?

    Range Fuels was one of the biggest LIES propagated in the Green Recovery space. Insiders know the details. Pundits and journalists don’t have a real clue – and use “bankruptcy” in their headlines.

    What is known is that Khosla has NOT uttered one word in his own defense for the past year or so since this facility has shut down and been re-sold back to him c/o another company namesake.

    Black Swans? The right to fail into success? Sure Vinod. Pursue both and use your own money – not mine.

    An Inside Observer.

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