Chemical Company Explores Bio-Fuels

DuPont is part of a science-based consortium that will receive US$19 million in matching funds from the U.S. Department of Energy for research leading to an innovative “bio-refinery” – capable of producing ethanol fuel and value-added chemicals from renewable resources such as corn.

Wilmington, Delaware – October 30, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The consortium includes DuPont, Diversa Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Michigan State University, and Deere & Company. Selected from nearly 200 proposals submitted to the Department of Energy, the Integrated Corn-Based Bioproducts Refinery project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of alternative energy and renewable resource technology. The project would produce sugars from corn and corn biomass and use them in a fermentation process to produce ethanol fuel and value-added chemicals. One of those chemicals is 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the key building block for DuPont Sorona — the company’s newest polymer platform. While PDO used in Sorona manufacturing is currently made using a petrochemical process, the DuPont Bio-Based Materials unit has developed an innovative method to produce PDO using a corn-based fermentation process. DuPont plans to transition to the new bio-based process for Sorona when the process is commercialized. The bio-refinery project would incorporate a similar bio-based process. As part of the science-based consortium, DuPont is contributing expertise in applied chemistry, biotechnology, chemical engineering and project management. Diversa Corporation brings its proprietary genomic technologies for the rapid discovery, development and optimization of novel proteins and microorganisms. NREL is world-renowned for its expertise in biomass conversion. Professor Bruce Dale, a biomass expert from Michigan State University, will address life cycle analysis. Deere & Company offers world-class expertise in agronomic systems analysis and material processing.
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