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Pumping up cellulosic ethanol

Jeff Caldwell 06/27/2011 @ 10:50am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A major agribusiness is stepping into the cellulosic arena in a big way in central Iowa.

DuPont officials announced Monday that the company's ethanol sector, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE) has agreed to buy land adjacent to Lincolnway Energy LLC's Nevada, Iowa, conventional ethanol plant with the plans to build a "commercial-scale biorefinery to produce fuel-grade ethanol from cellulose," according to a company report.

"We are purchasing the site next to Lincolnway because it will meet the business needs for our project, and provides potential economic and environmental synergies for both facilities," says DDCE CEO Joe Skurla. The DDCE process is designed to make fuel from a variety of cellulosic biomass. This includes wheat and corn stover, and energy crops, including switchgrass, according to a company report.

Along with announcement of the new cellulosic facility, officials announced Monday a new partnership with DuPont's Pioneer Hi-Bred and Iowa State University. the 2011 Stover Collection Program will "establish best practices in harvesting, storage and transportation and assure the agronomic and environmental integrity of corn fields" while ensuring a steady stream of feedstocks to the new DDCE facility.

"The company is working closely with local grain producers to obtain commitments and collect thousands of tons of stover from Iowa fields this fall," according to a company report.

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