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CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — Biofuel company Qteros (cue-TAIR'-ohs) has announced plans to build a $3.2 million pilot plant adjacent to Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee that could eventually employ 150 people.

Company officials said Tuesday the facility, which will demonstrate the company's patented process for converting plant matter to ethanol, is expected to be in small-scale production early next year.

Executive vice president Jef Sharp says if it is successful, a full-scale manufacturing plant could be built at the site.

The company says it uses a microbe discovered at the Quabbin Reservoir by a University of Massachusetts microbiology professor to break down plant matter into ethanol, faster, cheaper and with less waste than other methods.

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