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DuPont forms partnership to advance cellulosic ethanol

Agriculture.com Staff 10/05/2006 @ 8:17am

DuPont and Broin on Thursday announced a partnership in the United States to take the next steps needed to bring ethanol derived from corn stover to market.

"We are pleased to partner with Broin, a company that is regarded as a technology expert in biorefining," said DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Thomas M. Connelly. "We have worked over the last three years to develop a technology package that can efficiently break down the complex sugar matrix found in corn stover into ethanol from cellulose at a high yield. We are excited about the progress we have made and, while we still have to complete more research, we are ready to take the next steps to bring cellulosic ethanol to market."

Since 2003, DuPont and the U.S. Department of Energy have jointly funded a four-year research program to develop technology to convert corn stover into ethanol. The Integrated Corn-Based BioRefinery (ICBR) is to develop new innovations that can convert energy crops, like grasses, and agricultural byproducts, like straw and corn stalks, into biofuels and other renewably sourced materials. Partners in this research program include DuPont and its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., the Diversa Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan State University and Deere and Company.

The Integrated BioRefinery technology will increase the amount of ethanol per acre achievable by using both the corn grain and stover. DuPont's fermentation process allows high conversion of both C-6 glucose sugars and the difficult to ferment C-5 xylose sugars to ethanol at high yields. The Integrated BioRefinery technology uses a microorganism called Zymomonas mobilis to make these conversions. In nature, this organism lives in solutions of high sugar concentrations, such as those derived from fruits and the sugar sap of plants, and so is well-suited for highly efficient conversion of sugar.

Broin and the U.S. Department of Energy jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop and improve dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and South Dakota State University. The project provided for the commercialization of Broin's fractionation technology.

DuPont and Broin on Thursday announced a partnership in the United States to take the next steps needed to bring ethanol derived from corn stover to market.

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