Issue Date: May 19, 2008
DuPont, Genencor Link For Cellulose Ethanol
DuPont and Danisco's Genencor enzymes subsidiary are forming a joint-venture company that will develop and commercialize ethanol from nonfood, cellulosic feedstocks. The partners plan an initial three-year investment of $140 million to commercialize a process for making ethanol from corn cobs and sugarcane bagasse. Future feedstock targets include wheat straw and other energy crops. The joint venture, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol, expects to build a pilot plant in the U.S. by 2009. In cooperation with partners, it expects to enable commercial production by 2012. DuPont and Genencor have been pursuing cellulosic ethanol separately for several years. Working with the Department of Energy, DuPont has developed a process for pretreating feedstocks, as well as a proprietary organism that converts sugars to ethanol. Genencor worked with DOE and on its own to develop enzymes that convert cellulose into sugars. Numerous companies are pursuing production of ethanol from cellulose; examples include the German firms Süd-Chemie and Linde, which just formed a joint venture. And Verenium, formed last year through the merger of Diversa and Celunol, is in the process of starting its own pilot plant in Louisiana. To date, however, only a small Canadian plant operated by Iogen actually carries out the process commercially.
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