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DuPont pledges $1 million to ISU biomass center

Agriculture.com Staff 09/24/2007 @ 6:41am

DuPont announced Friday that it will contribute $1 million to an Iowa State University research farm described as the first integrated, sustainable biofuel feedstock demonstration farm in the United States.

"Dupont is very, very excited about supporting the entire value chain of renewables," said Dean Oestreich, Pioneer Hi-Bred President and DuPont Vice President and General Manager.

Oestreich was referring to DuPont's own commitment to supporting renewable products, from the farm level to a growing list of consumer products, as well its donation to ISU. The ISU approach to researching new crops and methods for biofuels will reflect the interest of Pioneer's founder, Henry A. Wallace, in putting scientific breakthroughs to practical uses on farms, Oestreich said.

The research center, called New Century Farm, will be located at the ISU Agricultural Engineering and Agronomy Research Farm west of Ames, Iowa. Constructions is expected to start this fall, with the main bioprocessing facility completed in about a year.

"It's one of our premiere research and development farms for crops, engineering and water quality," Joe Colletti, Senior Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, told Agriculture Online.

The farm will be monitoring the effects of different potential biofuels crops on soil and water quality, he said. That's just one facet of finding crops that will be best suited for growing fuels to be made from biomass. Agronomists who study those crops will be working with agricultural engineers who will be looking for the best ways to handle, store and process the crops.

The new research will integrate biomass production with processing into fuel and the knowledge will be shared with farmers through Iowa State University Extension.

Iowa State is seeking $19 million in contributions for construction of the facility and it expects the cost of annual research to be $2.6 million per year. The DuPont contribution will be allocated from 2008 to 2012.

DuPont announced Friday that it will contribute $1 million to an Iowa State University research farm described as the first integrated, sustainable biofuel feedstock demonstration farm in the United States.

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