December 7, 2009

ADM receives US$24.8 million grant for biofuels production


The US Department of Energy today awarded Archer Daniels Midland Company a US$24.8 million grant to develop and construct a facility that will convert biomass into renewable fuel. One of 19 biofuel projects to receive Department of Energy funding today, the ADM Advanced Biorefinery project will produce fuel ethanol and ethyl acrylate, a compound used to make plastics, adhesives, coatings and a range of other materials.

The technology used to begin breaking down the biomass--a step called pretreatment--will also be applicable in ADM's ongoing efforts to commercialise biocrude, a renewable product that can be refined into drop-in transportation fuels at existing petroleum refineries.

"By helping reduce the financial risk inherent in this kind of cutting-edge R&D, this funding from the Department of Energy will allow ADM to advance development steps concurrently, rather than sequentially, which will reduce the timeframe to commercialization by about two years " said Dr. Todd Werpy, vice president, Biofuels and Biochemical Research.

"Biofuels remain the only widely available alternative transportation fuel available today. This project demonstrates ADM's commitment to advanced biofuels and our work to meet the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard Programme," said Werpy.

This project aligns with ADM's ongoing advanced biofuels research, which includes development of sustainable biomass collection processes.

Sustainable collection and transportation of biomass is an essential step on the path to large-scale commercialization of advanced biofuels. Toward that end, ADM is collaborating with Deere & Company and Monsanto Company to develop a sustainable supply of corn stover--the stalks, leaves and cobs of corn plants--which is usually left on the field. The companies are working together to identify environmentally, agronomically and economically sustainable methods for the harvest, storage and transport of corn stover.

"As the world population grows, so will demand for food and energy. Using non-food feedstocks for feed and energy is one way that agriculture can apply innovation to create renewable, sustainable solutions," said Werpy. "By creating biofuels and energy products from biomass, including corn stover residues, farmers can produce more products without farming more acres, increasing the value and efficiency derived from each acre."