ADM, DuPont sign agreement to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and DuPont Industrial Biosciences announced a collaboration to develop, produce and market cellulase enzymes for operators of grain-based ethanol plants.

Cellulase enzymes assist in hydrolyzing the corn kernel fiber, which consists mostly of cellulose and hemicellulose carbohydrates. Once the fiber is broken down, more sugars can be liberated and then fermented into ethanol, helping grain-based fuel ethanol producers get more out of existing feedstocks.

As corn kernel fiber is part of a lower-value co-product stream, the potential to develop more valuable “Gen 1.5” ethanol is attractive. Ethanol from corn kernel fiber may qualify for D3 RINS under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, which encourages producers to use technology in order to utilize non-starch components of grains and other waste products in the production of biofuels.

“The industry is looking increasingly at enzyme-based tools to boost yields and produce additional ethanol without having to make significant capital investments, and we look forward to working with DuPont to help deliver solutions in this space,” said Collin Benson, ADM’s vice president of bioactives.

“We’re thrilled to add yet another significant pillar in our partnership with ADM. We are already working together in high-performance renewable bio-materials; now this agreement brings together substantial resources and capabilities in the pursuit of new innovations for grain-based biofuels,” said Troy Wilson, DuPont Industrial Biosciences’ global industry leader of grain processing.

Initial product prototypes have proven successful in both laboratory and ethanol plant scale testing, and more evaluations are planned.