Du Pont: Producing Cellulosic Ethanol

Du Pont 10450151_680657768650710_5470902751896477621_nBiofuel Solutions employs biochemical conversion of biomass involving enzymes and fermentation to produce second generation bioethanol. The company’s headquarter is in Wilmington, Delaware, United States.


Du Pont’s under construction commercial facility in Nevada, Iowa will use a range of potential biomass feedstocks including agricultural residues like corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, sugarcane straw and energy crops like switchgrass. Some other second generation bioethanol producers utilizing various biomass feedstocks are INEOS Bio, POET-DSM, and Abengoa.

Du Pont Integrated Technology for Bioethanol production 

The various steps involve in the process includes milling and pretreatment of the feedstock, saccharification to release fermentable sugars from of the complex carbohydrates of biomass, fermentation and separation of the end products.

Du Pont Bioethanol Production Plants

Commercial production facility in Navada, Iowa

Du Pont’s commercial facility of 30 million gallon per year capacity is under construction in Nevada, Iowa and is expected to become operational later this year. DuPont is collaborating with corn producers of the area to make the production of bioethanol cost effective and sustainable.

Demonstration facility in Vonore, Tennessee

In order to make ‘swithgrass to bioethanol’ a commercial success DuPont has partnered with Genera Energy. The experimentation part is taking place at its demonstration scale biorefinery in Vonore, TN. Swithgrass is native to Tennessee and considered to be more drought resistant than corn.

Accellerase® Biomass Enzymes from DuPont

DuPont develops cellulase mixtures and accessory enzymes. The enzymes can work on variety of feedstocks including wheat straw, corn stover, sugarcane bagasse, switch grass and paper pulp. The enzymes are pre-treatment adaptable which means that these are able to work with a variety of pretreatment technologies including dilute acid, ammonia fiber expansion, steam explosion and combined processes.

Accellerase® TRIO™  is one of the registered enzyme mixtures of Du Pont which can release 70-90% of available sugars present in biomass while their Accellerase® 1500 cellulase enzyme mixture is useful for converting biomass to glucan and other sugars.


Biobutanol is a drop-in biofuel that can be produced at existing ethanol production facilities and can be blended into gasoline at higher concentrations. In U.S. biobutanol can be blended at 16% by volume as per the regulation. In collaboration with BP, Du Pont has developed  a  biobutanol production technology ‘Butamax’.

Butamax Technology

Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels is a joint venture of BP and DuPont.  With the use of the technology the sugars from various biomass feedstocks can be converted into biobutanol using existing biofuel production facilities.

The recombinant microorganisms with an engineered isobutanol biosynthetic pathway, Key enzymes useful for conversion of sugars to biobutanol, manufacturing processes along with fuel and chemical applications have already been patented.  Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels LLC is located at Wilmington, DE.




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