While dozens of companies, including BP, have ditched plans to produce cellulosic ethanol, DuPont is pushing ahead.
The company announced Friday it has started construction on a $200 million cellulosic ethanol facility in Iowa. When the facility is completed in mid-2014, it will have the capacity to generate 30 million gallons annually of cellulosic biofuel produced from corn stover residues, a non-food feedstock consisting of corn stalks and leaves.
Using corn stover instead of corn alleviates two problems: criticism over using food crops for fuel and ridding farmers of leftover stover, which can interfere with planting.
DuPont was able to optimize the process and technology at its pilot facility in Tennessee, which allowed it to increase the annual capacity at the Iowa plant, the company said. The commercial plant in Iowa will require a capital investment of about $7 per gallon of annual capacity.
DuPont will contract with more than 500 local farmers to gather, store and deliver more than 375,000 dry tons of stover per year to the plant. The stover will be collected from a 30-mile radius around the new plant and harvested of off 190,000 acres, the company said.