Public Release: 

DuPont part of science-based consortium receiving U.S. Dept. of Energy 'Bio-Refinery' grant

Research goal is to develop ethanol fuel, value-added chemicals from renewable resources like corn


WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 28, 2002 - DuPont is part of a science-based consortium that will receive $19 million in matching funds from the U.S. Department of Energy for research leading to an innovative "bio-refinery" -- capable of producing ethanol fuel and value-added chemicals from renewable resources such as corn.

The consortium includes DuPont, Diversa Corporation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan State University, and Deere & Company.

Selected from nearly 200 proposals submitted to the Department of Energy, the Integrated Corn-Based Bioproducts Refinery project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility and practicality of alternative energy and renewable resource technology. The project would produce sugars from corn and corn biomass, and use them in a fermentation process to produce ethanol fuel and value-added chemicals. One of those chemicals is 1,3 propanediol (PDO), the key building block for DuPont™ Sorona® -- the company's newest polymer platform.

While PDO used in Sorona® manufacturing is currently made using a petrochemical process, the DuPont Bio-Based Materials unit has developed an innovative method to produce PDO using a corn-based fermentation process. DuPont plans to transition to the new bio-based process for Sorona® when the process is commercialized. The bio-refinery project would incorporate a similar bio-based process.

"As we enter our third century, DuPont has a rich tradition of partnering with governments to enhance the quality of life through science," said DuPont Chief Science and Technology Officer Dr. Thomas M. Connelly. "We are pleased the U.S. Department of Energy supports this initiative and recognizes that bio-science offers feasible solutions to satisfy our evolving energy needs in ways that reduce our environmental footprint. The scarcity and environmental impact of non-renewable resources amplifies the need to develop sustainable science-based solutions."

As part of the science-based consortium, DuPont is contributing expertise in applied chemistry, biotechnology, chemical engineering and project management. Diversa Corporation brings its proprietary genomic technologies for the rapid discovery, development and optimization of novel proteins and microorganisms. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is world-renowned for its expertise in biomass conversion. Professor Bruce Dale, a biomass expert from Michigan State University, will address life cycle analysis. Deere & Company offers world-class expertise in agronomic systems analysis and material processing.

"The consortium working on this project is a good blend of complementary technical expertise and leadership needed for success," said DuPont Bio-Based Materials vice president and general manager Dr. John P. Ranieri. "We are pleased to be part of this team and continue our science partnership with the U.S. government. "


During 2002, DuPont is celebrating its 200th year of scientific achievement and innovation -- providing products and services that improve the lives of people everywhere. Based in Wilmington, Del., DuPont delivers science-based solutions for markets that make a difference in people's lives in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation.

DuPont™ and Sorona® are a trademark and a registered trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.

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