DuPont breaks ground on US cellulosic ethanol plant


DuPont biorefinery

DuPont has commenced construction of its cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa, US, which will be used to commercialise advanced biofuels.

The new plant, which will need a capital investment of about $7 per gallon of annual capacity, is expected to produce 30m gallons of cellulosic biofuel per annum using corn stover residues, a non-food feedstock.

DuPont Industrial Biosciences president James C. Collins said, by leveraging DuPont Pioneer corn production expertise and designing an integrated technology platform, the company had built an affordable and sustainable entry point into the new industry.

'"We've built an incredible partnership with the state of Iowa, Iowa State University, entrepreneurial growers and a whole host of partners around the country who share our vision of making renewable fuels a commercial reality," Collins added.

DuPont will contract more than 500 local farmers to gather, store and deliver more than 375,000tpa of dry corn stover harvested in 190,000 acres for the plant.

DuPont will further use its cellulosic ethanol technology to process additional feedstocks and has already begun processing switchgrass in the testing facility it owns jointly with the University of Tennessee near Knoxville, US.

The DuPont biorefinery co-product is a material, which can replace coal in facilities presently burning fossil fuel.

Upon the project's completion in mid-2014, the plant is expected to be among the first and largest commercial-scale cellulosic biorefineries in the world and produce more than $200m worth of cellulosic biofuel, according to the company.


Image: The DuPont biorefinery co-product is a material, which can replace coal in facilities presently burning fossil fuel. Photo courtesy of DuPont.