|Cellulosic processing could increase the ethanol yield of corn by around 200 gallons/acre. Click to enlarge. Source: DuPont|
DuPont and Broin, the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the US, are combining DuPont’s bioengineering with Broin’s corn fractionation technology to advance the development of the production of cellulosic bioethanol from corn stover in the US.
Since 2003, DuPont and the US Department of Energy have jointly funded a four-year research program to develop technology to convert corn stover into ethanol. The Integrated Corn-Based BioRefinery (ICBR) is aligned with DuPont’s strategy to develop new innovations that can convert energy crops, such as grasses, and agricultural byproducts, such as straw and corn stalks, into biofuels and other renewably sourced materials. Partners in this research program include DuPont and its subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., the Diversa Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan State University and Deere & Company. (Earlier post.)
The Integrated BioRefinery technology will significantly increase the amount of ethanol per acre achievable by using both the corn grain and stover. The ICBR uses genetically engineered Zymomonas mobilis bacteria to convert both C-6 glucose sugars and the difficult to ferment C-5 xylose sugars to ethanol.
Broin and the US Department of Energy jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop and improve dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and South Dakota State University.
This project provided for the commercialization of Broin’s fractionation technology (BFrac), which together with Broin’s raw starch hydrolysis process (BPX), prepares the feedstock for fermentation. BFrac delivers higher ethanol yields, according to Broin, and it also creates additional value-added products and streams—including the fiber for the production of cellulose to ethanol.
We have worked over the last three years to develop a technology package that can efficiently break down the complex sugar matrix found in corn stover into ethanol from cellulose at a high yield. We are excited about the progress we have made and, while we still have to complete more research, we are ready to take the next steps to bring cellulosic ethanol to market.—Thomas Connelly, DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer
The partnership between Broin and DuPont brings together much of the needed technology that is important to the future development of cellulose to ethanol. The ability to combine the global science of DuPont with Broin's ethanol production technology puts us in position to make the commercialization of cellulose to ethanol a reality much sooner.—Mike Muston, Broin Executive Vice President of Corporate Development
Broin is a specialized and integrated technology development, production, and marketing company with more than 20 years in the biorefining industry. The company has a history of advanced ethanol and biorefining process development. It currently manages 18 ethanol plants in five states with five more projects under construction.