In the USA, DuPont has opened its 113 million litre cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, IA, which is said to be the world’s largest cellulosic biofuels refinery opened to date.
In Asia, DuPont recently announced its first licensing agreement with New Tianlong Industry to build China’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant, and last autumn a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was announced between DuPont, Ethanol Europe and the government of Macedonia to develop a second-generation biorefinery project. The company is also working in partnership with Procter & Gamble to use cellulosic ethanol in North American Tide laundry detergents.
The majority of the fuel produced at the Nevada, Iowa, facility will be bound for California to fulfil the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, where the state has adopted a policy to reduce carbon intensity in transportation fuels. The plant also will serve as a commercial-scale demonstration of the cellulosic technology where investors from all over the world can see firsthand how to replicate this model in their home regions.
500 local farmers will provide the annual 375,000 dry tonnes of stover needed to produce this cellulosic ethanol from within a 30-mile radius of the facility. In addition to providing a new revenue stream for these growers, the plant will create 85 full-time jobs at the plant and more than 150 seasonal local jobs in Iowa.
The raw material used to produce the ethanol is corn stover – the stalks, leaves and cobs left in a field after harvest. The facility will demonstrate at commercial scale that non-food feedstocks from agriculture can be the renewable raw material to power the future energy demands of society. Cellulosic ethanol will further diversify the transportation fuel mix just as wind and solar are expanding the renewable options for power generation.