Issue Date: July 21, 2008
Dow, Energy Lab Pen Ethanol Deal
Waste biomass will be explored as a feedstock for chemical intermediates and biofuels through an agreement announced last week between Dow Chemical and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Corn stover, wood waste, and other nonfood biomass will be used as feedstock for a pilot project conducted by Dow and the Department of Energy lab. The project will test a thermochemical process along with a catalyst technology developed by Dow to convert cellulosic waste to liquid biofuels and chemical production feedstocks. The agreement continues ongoing Dow-NREL biofuels research using cellulosic feedstocks. NREL hopes to have this technology ready for commercialization within three to five years. When announcing the agreement, Dow noted that sources of biomass feedstock are huge. One study by DOE and the Agriculture Department found that enough nonfood biomass is available to produce biofuels in amounts that would offset the nation's annual oil imports. The program is part of a growing emphasis by biofuels producers, government, and private researchers to move beyond dependence on food crops as a source of ethanol and other biofuels.
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