Dashing out the door last night, I noticed that one of my colleagues in New York had emailed me a press release from Genencor about its second generation cellulosic enzyme technology, which I posted.
I arrive back in the office, refreshed and alert after a good night's sleep (and a train commute to remember) to find two e-mails, one from Doris who sent the release on to me (and is planning her own blog later in the year) and one from Joe, who went to the press conference. The feeling is there may have been a little over selling in the press release. I'd say that's pretty normal.
In Joe's story we get to hear form Jack Huttner, head of biorefinery business development for Genencor, who injects a note of reality into the proceedings. Quoting from Joe's article:
He said the product, called Accellerase, will help biorefiners learn how to integrate commercial enzymes in their production units and will accelerate and improve ethanol yield.
The Genencor enzyme works on feedstocks such as sugar cane bagasse (cane stalk remnants from sugar production), soft wood chips and paper pulp. He said Genencor focused on enzyme development that could take advantage of the most readily available feedstocks.
He noted that cellulosic ethanol production still faces commercial and business obstacles as well as technical challenges, “but these things are all starting to come together”.
The telling numbers are at the end of the piece:
He said continued government support for cellulosic development is necessary because of ongoing research needs and the higher capital costs of cellulosic production. Capital investment for corn-based ethanol typically is $1 for every gallon of capacity production while cellulosic production requires as much as $3.50 of capital per gallon of capacity.