DuPont announces plans to sell Iowa-based cellulosic ethanol plant

DuPont Industrial Biosciences has said it plans to sell its cellulosic ethanol plant in Iowa, US. The move comes almost exactly two years after the company celebrated the grand opening of the facility in October 2015.

In a statement, DuPont said: “As part of DowDuPont’s intent to create a leading specialty products company, we are making a shift in how we participate in the cellulosic biofuels market.

“While we still believe in the future of cellulosic biofuels, we have concluded it is in our long-term interest to find a strategic buyer for our technology, including the Nevada, Iowa, biorefinery.

“We will continue to participate in the overall biofuels market through specialty offerings, including biofuel enzymes and engineered yeast solutions that improve yield and productivity for biofuel producers. We plan to work closely with local, state and federal partners to assure a smooth transition as we pursue the sale of the business. All affected employees will receive support services during this transition.”

DuPont spent about $225 million (€192m) to build the facility, which used corn stalks and stems to make ethanol, which is blended into gasoline. The plant was designed to produce 30 million gallons a year.

The news comes as another blow for the second-generation biofuels industry, following recent reports that Beta Renewables had shut down its cellulosic ethanol plant in Crescentino, Italy.

According to local media reports, financial restructuring at US headquartered Group Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), who built and operated the facility, is behind the shutting down of the bioethanol plant.

“The court of Alessandria admitted Gruppo Mossi Ghisolfi companies to the “concordato preventivo” in accordance with article 161 sixth paragraph of the Bankruptcy Law,” reads a statement issued by Beta Renewables on 27 October.

“The court granted all companies a term of 120 days starting from 26 October 2017 for the filling of the proposal of the composition with creditors, with the exception of IBP srl for which the court granted a term of 60 days.”

This essentially means that the Beta Renewables biorefinery has just 60 days to present a restructuring plan to Italian authorities.


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