DuPont Danisco & UT To Build Cellulosic Ethanol Pilot Plant

DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC (DDCE) and the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Foundation announced a partnership to construct an innovative pilot-scale biorefinery and state-of-the-art research and development facility for cellulosic ethanol in Vonore, Tennessee.

The pilot-scale biorefinery, which RenewableEnergyWorld.com first reported on last month, will develop the commercial package for DDCE’s cellulosic ethanol technology. The project will utilize UT’s experience in cellulosic feedstock production and co-product research, as well as its work with Tennessee farmers to develop the first dedicated cellulosic energy crop supply chain for biorefineries utilizing switchgrass. The facility design will incorporate the flexibility to operate on two different non-food biomass feedstocks, corn stover (cobs and fiber) and switchgrass.

“We are extremely pleased to collaborate with DDCE,” said John Peterson, president of UT. “The technical breadth and execution capabilities of DuPont Danisco, along with the backing of their parent companies, raise the national and international profile of the Tennessee Biofuels Initiative and confirm the State of Tennessee as a leader in the development of cellulosic ethanol.”

The pilot plant and process development unit (PDU) will be located at the Niles Ferry Industrial Park. A PDU is a research facility that enables both experimentation at larger than laboratory scale and more rapid adjustments to process components. The plant capacity will be 250,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol annually. Site preparations are scheduled to begin this fall, and ethanol could be available from the pilot plant by December 2009.

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