US POET, Dutch DSM launch cellulosic ethanol JV

24 January 2012 03:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Biofuel producer POET and the biotechnology company Royal DSM have launched a US joint venture (JV) to produce cellulosic ethanol on a commercial scale using corn residue, the companies said on Monday.

The 50/50 joint venture, POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, is scheduled to start production in the second half of 2013 at one of the first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants in the US, the companies said in a joint statement.

The first commercial demonstration of the cellulosic ethanol technology will be at a facility under construction next to POET’s corn ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, with an initial capacity of 20m gal/year in the first year, the companies said.

The capacity would increase to about 25m gal/year in following years.

The initial capital expenditure by the Souix Falls, South Dakota-headquartered JV will amount to about $250m (€195m), the companies said.

“The two partners will produce cellulosic ethanol from corn crop residue through a biological process using enzymatic hydrolysis followed by fermentation,” the companies said, adding they expect the JV to be profitable in its first full year of production in 2014.

The JV plans to license the technology to additional plants to be built at the other 26 corn ethanol facilities in POET's network.

“If the technology is replicated at POET's network of 27 existing corn ethanol plants, it could produce up to one billion gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol per year,” the companies said.

The JV would license the technology to other producers in the US and the rest of the world, the companies said.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that in the US as many as 350-400 new bio-refineries will have to be constructed by 2022 to meet the volume requirement of 16 bn gal/year of cellulosic bio-ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In 2008, POET started operating a cellulosic bio-ethanol pilot plant at its research centre in Scotland, South Dakota. DSM offers both yeast and enzyme solutions to increase conversion rates to make the technology commercially viable, the companies said.

($1 = €0.78)


By: Brian Ford
+1 713 525 2653



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