DuPont lets engineering contract for Iowa cellulosic ethanol project

DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol LLC (DDCE) let a contract to KBR for engineering and procurement services for DuPont’s first cellulosic ethanol plant, which is to be built in Nevada, Iowa.

DDCE, a DuPont subsidiary under the DuPont Industrial Biosciences Group, already produces cellulosic ethanol at a precommercial plant in Vonore, Tenn.

The Iowa plant will be designed to process 1,300 tons/day of corn cobs, leaves, and stalks to produce 27.5 million gal/year of ethanol, which would be blended into gasoline to help US fuel manufacturers fulfill federal requirements, KBR said.

The 27.5 million gal/year surpasses current US Environmental Protection Agency requirements for cellulosic ethanol volumes in gasoline. The EPA determines the volumes for types of biofuels that are to be blended into the transportation fuels mixture under the renewable fuel standards, RFS1 and 2, under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

The 2012 RFS2 update, released in December 2011, calls for a cellulosic inclusion volume of 8.65 million gal (<600 b/d), which is a downward revision from the original 2012 RFS2 cellulosic target of 500 million gal (OGJ, Apr. 2, 2012, p. 98).

DDCE plans to build the plant adjacent to Lincolnway Energy LLC’s conventional ethanol plant. Upon completion, the DDCE plant would be one of the world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants.

Construction is expected to take 12-18 months from groundbreaking, which is scheduled during the second half of 2012, KBR said. The value of the contract was not disclosed.

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