DuPont celebrated the opening of its cellulosic biofuel facility in Nevada, Iowa, with a ceremony including Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad and many other dignitaries. This biorefinery is the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant, with the capacity to produce 30 million gallons per year of clean fuel that offers a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to gasoline.
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.
DuPont brings an unparalleled combination of science competencies and almost 90 years of agronomy expertise in Iowa to develop both a pioneering clean fuel and biomass supply chain. Vital to the supply chain and the entire operation of the Nevada biorefinery are close to 500 local farmers, who will provide the annual 375,000 dry tons of stover needed to produce this cellulosic ethanol from within a 30-mile radius of the facility. In addition to providing a brand-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.
“Iowa has a rich history of innovation in agriculture,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad. “Today we celebrate the next chapter in that story, using agricultural residue as a feedstock for fuel, which brings both tremendous environmental benefits to society and economic benefits to the state. The opening of DuPont’s biorefinery represents a great example of the innovation that is possible when rural communities, their government and private industry work together toward a common goal.”
Biomass-based businesses can bring new sources of revenue and high-tech opportunities to rural economies around the world. As a global company with operations in more than 90 countries, DuPont is uniquely positioned to deploy its cellulosic technology for a global rollout, in transportation fuel and other industries.
“Today, we fulfill our promise to the global biofuels industry with the dedication of our Iowa facility,” said William F. Feehery, president of DuPont Industrial Biosciences. “And perhaps more significantly, we fulfill our promise to society to bring scientific innovation to the market that positively impacts people’s lives. Cellulosic biofuel is joining ranks with wind and solar as true alternatives to fossil fuels, reducing damaging environmental impacts and increasing our energy security.”
In Asia, DuPont recently announced its first licensing agreement with New Tianlong Industry to build China’s largest cellulosic ethanol plant, and last fall 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 also is 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 fulfill 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.
DuPont’s achievement provides the technology that will transform the U.S. fuel supply enabling a transition to fulfill the original cellulosic ethanol volume targets as Congress intended when it passed the Renewable Fuel Standard, a regulation established in 2005 to encourage growth and investment in sustainable fuel solutions. Earlier this month, DuPont and America’s Renewable Future released new poll findings that suggested Iowa caucus-goers from both parties – 61 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats – would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports the Renewable Fuel Standard and renewable fuels.