DuPont, Danisco Form Cellulosic Ethanol Joint Venture

DuPont (NYSE: DFT) and Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S (DCO.CO), announced an agreement to form DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC, a 50/50 joint venture to develop and commercialize a low-cost technology solution for the production of cellulosic ethanol–a next generation biofuel produced from non-food sources.

The partners plan an initial three-year investment of US$140 million, which will initially target corn stover and sugar cane bagasse. Future targets include multiple ligno-cellulosic feedstocks including wheat straw, a variety of energy crops and other biomass sources.

"With food and gas prices surging at double-digit rates, there is an imperative for sustainable biofuels technologies. This joint venture addresses this issue head on," said DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday, Jr. "By integrating our companies’ strengths and expertise in this new venture, we are significantly increasing the potential to make cellulosic ethanol from multiple non-food sources an economic reality around the world."

Danisco CEO Tom Knutzen said, "This joint venture will be a powerhouse of discovery, development and engineering. It represents a major step forward in Danisco’s new strategic intent to be a leading force in the field of industrial biotechnology."

The joint venture expects its first pilot plant to be operational in the United States in 2009, and its first commercial-scale demonstration facility to be operational within the next three years. The joint venture will be headquartered in the United States and will be formed after receipt of required regulatory approvals.

The joint venture will scale up an optimized technology package for corn cobs from integrating the proprietary DuPont pretreatment and ethanologen technologies with the enzyme technology of Genencor, while DuPont continues to analyze the collection and storage of cellulosic feedstocks. 

The joint venture will license its technology package directly to ethanol producers for deployment in the United States and around the world. The technology package can be used both as a "bolt-on" to an existing ethanol plant–expanding its capacity to accept cellulosic feedstocks–or as the design basis for a stand-alone cellulosic ethanol facility. The joint venture expects to enable production of commercial volumes of cellulosic ethanol by 2012.

DuPont and Genencor have a history of collaboration. In 1995 the companies partnered to develop the fermentation biocatalyst that produces Bio-PDOTM propanediol, one of the first commercial-scale industrial applications of metabolic engineering designed to make a 100% renewably sourced material from corn starch. 

About Genencor

Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, is a leader in the industrial biotechnology sector. In more than 40 countries, Genencor’s 1,400 employees develop and market innovative enzymes and biobased solutions to improve the performance and reduce the environmental impact of a wide variety of industries, from laundry detergents to transportation fuels.

Danisco is a Denmark-based company with 9,700 employees in more than 40 countries. It is one of the world’s leading suppliers of food ingredients, sugar and industrial bioproducts. 

About DuPont

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

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