DuPont is dropping $58 million into a joint venture with British Petroleum (BP) and British Sugar to produce the biofuels, biobutanol and ethanol. Biobutanol is a renewable energy source similar to ethanol in that its is obtained by fermenting some of the same feedstocks, but biobutanol is closer to unleaded gasoline in energy content. It is also more compatible with existing pertoleum-based fuels pipeline systems.
The company will build a biobutanol demonstration plant, the first of its kind in the world, with BP and a 420 million liter (about 100 million gallons) a year ethanol plant with British Sugar. Both facilities will be at Saltend, Hull, about 200 miles north of London.
This DuPont news release says DuPont and BP will start to send market development quantities of biobutanol to the U.K. by the end of the year tp test the manufacturing infrastructure and for vehicle testing:
“Our strategy is to selectively invest in production facilities globally to meet the demand for biofuels. Today marks the first two investments of this nature,” said DuPont Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Thomas M. Connelly. “We are on track to deliver on the milestones announced in 2006 for biobutanol, specifically market development of biobutanol by the end of this year and introduction of our second-generation technology by 2010.”
The biobutanol technology research and demonstration facility will make the biofuel from wheat, corn, barley and rye starting in early 2009. In the last year-and-a-half, DuPont has doubled the number of scientists working on biobutanol R&D and has filed more than 30 patents related to the biofuel.