WILMINGTON, DE --- DuPont's plans to bring its two advanced biofuels programs to market are on track and making strides toward the commercialization of biobutanol and the conversion of cellulosic feedstocks economically into biofuels, the company announced.
"Biobutanol and cellulosic ethanol have the ability to transform the biofuels industry," said DuPont Vice President and General Manager John Ranieri. "Our flexible business models allow us to penetrate different geographies with the ability to convert various feedstocks to meet the significant global demand for biofuels."
The DuPont BioFuels business strategy is developing and commercializing an upstream biofuel technology to produce cellulosic ethanol that will use non-food energy feedstocks such as corn cob and switchgrass, and a downstream biofuel technology to produce biobutanol, a high-performance biofuel that can be delivered through existing gasoline distribution channels.
In May, DuPont announced a joint venture with Danisco to deliver low cost, sustainable cellulosic ethanol technology. In July, the DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC joint venture announced a partnership with the University of Tennessee to build a pilot and demonstration facility for the cellulosic ethanol technology. The groundbreaking is scheduled later this month. Pilot production using corn cob and switchgrass is expected to begin in 2009, with commercially viable economics by 2010.
Biobutanol blends can be transported using existing fuel infrastructure. They have a higher blend value, provide fuel economy (miles per gallon) similar to unleaded gasoline, and can be blended at a minimum of 16 percent concentrations without the need to modify vehicles. DuPont is jointly developing biobutanol with BP in a partnership first announced in 2006.
"We are on track to have a biobutanol pilot facility operational in 2009 with the commercial biotechnology package complete by 2010 at economics comparable to grain ethanol," Ranieri said. "Once we are commercial with biobutanol, we intend to combine our technologies to make biobutanol from non-food feedstocks."