Processing Magazine

DuPont, Genencor form $140M ethanol venture

May 14, 2008
According to the Associated Press, DuPont said recently it has formed a joint venture with a Danish company to develop and commercialize cellulosic ethanol, or fuel derived from nonfood sources.

DuPont and Genencor, a division of Danisco, plan an initial three-year investment of $140 million in the U.S.-based venture, to be called DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC.

Initially it will focus on making fuel from the leaves and stalks of corn, and sugar cane bagasse, the remnants of sugercane stalks after they are crushed for juice. The company plans to eventually explore fuel derived from wheat straw, as well as a variety of energy crops and other biomass sources.

Currently, crops such as corn are used to make the biofuel, which critics say has made food more scarce and pushed up prices.

Dupont Danisco expects its first pilot plant to be operational in the United States in 2009, and its first commercial-scale demonstration facility to be operational within the next three years.

The companies have not announced where the plant will be located.

The 50-50 joint venture is expected to produce commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol by 2012, and it plans to license its technology directly to ethanol producers.

According to DuPont, they collaborated with Genencor in 1995 to develop the fermentation biocatalyst that produces Bio-PDO propanediol, one of the first commercial-scale industrial applications of metabolic engineering designed to make a 100 percent renewably sourced material from corn starch.