DuPont breaks ground on 30m gal/year US cellulosic ethanol plant

30 November 2012 18:11  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--DuPont on Friday broke ground on a 30m gal/year cellulosic ethanol plant in the city of Nevada in Iowa, it said.

The $200m (€154m) plant will be one of the world’s largest commercial cellulosic bio-refineries after its completion, expected for mid-2014, DuPont said.

The facility will produce ethanol from corn stover residues, a non-food feedstock that consists of corn stalks and leaves.

To supply the corn stover, DuPont will contract with more than 500 local farmers to gather, store and deliver over 375,000 dry tonnes/year of stover to the Nevada facility. 

In addition to about 60 full-time plant operations jobs, there will be more than 150 workers involved in the collection, stacking, transportation and storage of the stover feedstock during each harvest. 

The stover will be collected from a 30-mile radius around the new facility and harvested off of 190,000 acres of land.

DuPont added that for many corn growers managing leftover corn stover can be a challenge as the residue interferes with planting, monopolises nitrogen in the soil and often harbours damaging insect, pests and pathogens.

DuPont aims to further adapt its cellulosic ethanol technology to additional feedstocks. It is already processing switchgrass at a testing facility it owns jointly with the University of Tennessee near Knoxville, it said.

“By leveraging DuPont Pioneer corn production expertise and designing an integrated technology platform, we’ve built an affordable and sustainable entry point into this new industry,” said James Collins, president of DuPont’s industrial biosciences business.

“We’re committed to continued productivity gains to drive costs down even further for the coming generations of plants, ones based on corn stover as well as other feedstocks.”
In related industry news, BP said last month that it will not pursue plans for a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Florida, but will rather focus its biofuels strategy on licensing technology and research and development.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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