DuPont Technologies to Help Farmers and Others Meet President Bush’s Biofuels Challenge
Commercializing Cellulosic Ethanol Technology, Increasing Grain and Ethanol Yields and Next-Generation Biofuels are Key Drivers
New technologies from DuPont will help farmers and others meet the biofuels challenge issued from President George W. Bush this week.
President Bush saw firsthand Wednesday new technologies DuPont is utilizing to help meet his challenge when he toured the company’s global research and development facility here.
“The demand for alternative energy is going to put agriculture to the test and we have the science to help the industry meet the challenge,” said Dean Oestreich , DuPont vice president and president of DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc . “Through corn yield increases, cellulosic production and ethanol production efficiencies we will be able to double our per-acre ethanol output in 10 years.”
“President Bush has set an ambitious goal for the nation to achieve a 20 percent displacement of fossil fuels in 10 years, and our biofuels program is primed to deliver the technologies needed to help get us there,” said John Ranieri , DuPont Biofuels vice president and general manager. “In addition to energy security, biofuels technologies can be made from locally sourced feedstocks, such as corn stalks and can significantly reduce the associated environmental footprint.”
In his State of the Union address, President Bush called for mandatory fuel standards that require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels be used by 2017 – nearly five times the 2012 target now in place. Alternative fuels will come from sources such as corn ethanol, ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, advanced biofuels including biobutanol, biodiesel and other alternative transportation energy options.
DuPont has been investing in a three-part strategy to deliver new technologies to the growing biofuels market while continuing to meet growing demand for grain corn, soybeans and other crops. The strategy includes: 1) improve existing ethanol production through differentiated agriculture seed products and crop protection chemicals; 2) develop and supply new technologies to allow conversion of cellulose to biofuels; and 3) develop and supply next-generation biofuels with improved performance.
Improve Existing Ethanol Production
“The first part of DuPont’s three-part strategy is about increasing yield per acre and enhancing ethanol yield of grain,” said Oestreich. “We are doing this through biotechnology, enhanced and traditional breeding techniques, accurate product positioning on its customers’ farms and ethanol yield prediction analysis of its corn hybrids.”
“Pioneer is offering and continues to advance a broad array of tools to help farmers maximize their yields,” he said. “We are using biotechnology to greatly speed up our research and development process, allowing us to bring improved products to the market faster. Biotechnology advances such as Herculex® Insect Protection traits and drought tolerance are or will soon be protecting their potential from yield-limiting factors. Pioneer agronomists are working closely with farmers to assist them with production challenges from corn-after-corn production. The Pioneer IndustrySelect® program identifies hybrids with higher ethanol yield potential and helps ethanol producers attain the hybrids they need to get higher ethanol yields per bushel.”
A backgrounder on the efforts to help meet increased demand for ethanol and grain corn and can be found at http://pioneer.mediaroom.com/file.php/271/ProdChallenge.pdf.
Conversion of Cellulose to Biofuels
Through a $38 million matching grant partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, DuPont is developing a cost-effective technology package to produce cellulosic ethanol from entire corn plants. The program is developing the value drivers to economically convert cellulose to sugar and allow for the volumes needed to meet the demands of the biofuels market. DuPont is working with partners that include Deere & Company, Michigan State University, Diversa and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. These organizations are working on answering questions such as whether a hybrid seed can be developed to improve conversion of cellulose to sugars; what type of new agricultural equipment will be needed to harvest this new crop; and how the industry will ensure sustainable agricultural practices.
“Ethanol produced from cellulose derived from corn stover and other plants will be an important part of the equation to meet the demand for fuel,” Ranieri said. “Once this technology is optimized, we can move to other agricultural feedstocks, including switch grass and other future energy crops.”
Develop and Supply Next-Generation Biofuels
In June 2006, DuPont and BP announced that they will bring the next generation of biofuels to market. The first product will be biobutanol. Biobutanol has low vapor pressure and tolerance to water contamination in gasoline blends, facilitating its use in existing gasoline supply and distribution channels. It has the potential to be blended into gasoline at higher concentrations than existing biofuels without the need to retrofit vehicles and it offers better fuel economy than gasoline-ethanol blends, improving a car’s fuel efficiency and mileage.
“Biobutanol is an important part of DuPont’s biofuels strategy,” Ranieri said. “Developing biobutanol, which has properties that are closer to gasoline, will help to accelerate the adoption of biofuels in the transportation fuels industry.”
DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly establish environmental goals 16 years ago – has broadened its sustainability commitments beyond internal footprint reduction to include market-driven targets for both revenue and research and development investment like biofuels. The goals are tied directly to business growth, specifically to the development of safer and environmentally improved new products for key global markets, including products based on non-depletable resources, like biofuels.
Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a subsidiary of DuPont, is the world’s leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics, crop protection solutions and quality crop systems to customers in nearly 70 countries.
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries and regions, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.
http://www2.dupont.com/Sustainability/en_US/Newsroom/index.html ; http://www2.dupont.com/Biofuels/en_US/ ; www.pioneer.com
Photo of President Bush at the DuPont Experimental Station is available at: http://www2.dupont.com/Media_Center/en_US/assets/downloads/images/GWB_Chad_Cornfield.jpg
Photo Caption: President George W. Bush on tour of DuPont's biofuels programs with DuPont Chairman & CEO Charles O. "Chad" Holliday and U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.
Herculex® Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. Herculex® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.
EnClass® and IndustrySelect® are registered trademarks of Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc.
Contact: Michelle Reardon, 302-774-7447