October 22, 2008

DSM invests in ethanol enzyme technology



Royal DSM announced the execution of a multimillion dollar cooperative funding agreement with the US Department of Energy to underwrite a portion of research and development costs aimed at enabling "second generation" bio-fuels from non-food feedstocks.


In February 2008, a consortium led by DSM that includes Abengoa Bioenergy New Technologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory was awarded US$7.4 million by the Department of Energy toward a proposed $33 million program to conduct cost effective enzyme development for the production of cellulose-based biofuels.


DSM has committed to funding the majority of the project costs and to creating new highly skilled "green collar" jobs at its Belvidere, NJ facility.


The research will help further the Department of Energy's goal of making cellulosic ethanol cost-competitive with gasoline by 2012.


In the project the participants will work during the next four years to develop cost efficient enzymes to allow for the manufacturing of commercial quantities of second generation biofuel.


This work has already begun, and will continue at DSM's facility in New Jersey, and around the world.


Proprietary enzymes that make it possible to hydrolyze cellulose and xylose from various plant residues are available today, but a significant volume of R&D and collaborative partnerships are still needed to make the process commercially viable.

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