NASHVILLE, Tenn., July 23, 2008 – DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC (DDCE) and the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Foundation, through its Genera Energy LLC, today announced a partnership to construct an innovative pilot-scale biorefinery and state-of-the-art research and development facility for cellulosic ethanol in Vonore, Tenn.
The pilot-scale biorefinery will develop the commercial package for DDCE’s leading cellulosic ethanol technology. The project will utilize UT’s world-class expertise 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 cellulosic 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.
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 should be available from the pilot plant by December 2009.
“Our technology is ready to pilot and we are eager to get the steel in the ground,” said DuPont Danisco Technology Leader John Pierce. “The high cellulosic content of switchgrass makes it an optimal feedstock for ethanol production. Its yields today make it more than competitive with other biomass sources, and it has the potential to produce over 1,000 gallons of ethanol per acre in the future. The joint venture is now targeting the two optimal biomass feedstocks in the United States and we are ready to take our technology to the next level of commercial viability.”