DuPont ethanol biofuels leader Russ Sanders today told investment analysts at the Citigroup ethanol conference that an integrated approach involving multiple technologies will be needed to address the world's energy challenge.
"The need for alternative fuels is clear," Sanders said. "But, it will take many different technologies, developed across parallel tracks, to meet anticipated demand. DuPont is developing a sustainable system by working across different approaches within a fully integrated business."
DuPont has a three-part biofuels strategy that includes: improving the yield of grain ethanol production through the research, technology and agronomic expertise of its Pioneer Hi-Bred business; developing technologies to convert other agricultural feedstocks and energy crops into biofuels; and discovering new technologies to make advanced biofuels with enhanced fuel properties.
Improve Existing Ethanol Production: Sanders highlighted the first part of the DuPont strategy, which he leads, to increase yield per acre and enhance ethanol yield of corn grain through biotechnology, enhanced and traditional breeding techniques, and ethanol yield prediction analysis of its corn hybrids.
"Pioneer has found that some of its hybrids produce up to 4 percent more ethanol than the average," Sanders said.
The company's Herculex(R) insect protection traits help to further improve ethanol yields by protecting grain yields and quality from insect damage caused by western bean cutworm and other pests.
"Ethanol producers are recognizing that Herculex(R) is the best Bt to help improve grain quality coming into their plants as well as the dried distillers grains the production process generates," he said.
Further down the value chain, ethanol plants are using Pioneer ethanol yield prediction analysis technology to identify ethanol yield potential of each load of grain brought to a plant. This information allows plant managers to better manage the grain feedstock stream and maximize the ethanol production process.
Technology to Produce Cellulosic Biofuels: DuPont and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are jointly funding a research program to develop technology to convert non-food agricultural feedstocks into ethanol. This program is focused on corn stover -- the leaves, stalks and cobs that are left in the field after harvest.
Biobutanol Partnership with BP and Advanced Biofuels Pipeline: The DuPont partnership with BP to develop biobutanol is based on the companies' joint strategy to bring advanced biofuels to market to expand the use of biofuels in gasoline. Biobutanol will be the first advanced performance product available from this partnership. It resolves fuel stability issues because biobutanol- gasoline blends can potentially be distributed via the existing fuel supply infrastructure; it improves blend flexibility allowing higher biofuels blends with gasoline; it improves fuel efficiency (better miles per gallon) compared to incumbent biofuels; and, it enhances ethanol-gasoline blends by lowering the vapor pressure when co-blended with these fuels.