The recently announced joint venture between DuPont and Denmark's Danisco is already taking a concrete step towards the commercial production of 2nd generation bioethanol based on non-food biomass. According to a press release on Danisco's website, the newly formed company DuPont Danisco Cellulosic will partner the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Foundation in constructing a pilot-scale biorefinery and R&D facility for cellulosic ethanol in Vonore, Tenn.
The plant will have a capacity of 250,000 gallons (approx. 940,000 litres) of cellulosic ethanol annually and will utilize UT’s expertise in cellulosic feedstock production and co-product research. The facility will be designed to operate on non-food biomass feedstocks such as corn stover and switchgrass, and is slated to come on line in December 2009. Construction will commence later this year.
In the press release, Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen said: “I am extremely pleased to see UT partner with a company like DuPont Danisco. This announcement marks an important step forward in our goal to leverage the best of Tennessee's agricultural and academic resources in a way that will maximize our potential as a farm-based fuels leader. Biomass ethanol research and production is fundamental to positioning Tennessee to take advantage of the economic opportunities of the future.”
Danisco has also been making other kinds of headlines in recent days, with financial daily newspaper Børsen claiming that the major capital fund Apax Partners is preparing to table a bid for Danisco, which has just divested its sugar business to Germany's Nordzucker.
Founded in 1989, Danisco employs 9,500 people in 47 countries, and generated revenues in 2007/2008 of DKK 18.8bn* (USD 4bn). The company is listed on the OMX Nordic Exchange Copenhagen.
* data from Danisco's website