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October 8 issue of C&EN has an excellent update on Cellulosic Ethanol, p 22.

Originally, the enzymes needed to release fermentable sugars from cellulose were expensive: $6/gal of ethanol. Research has greatly improved the costs. They are now below $1/gal and could be headed for $0.30/gal.

High cost has been the hang up on commercial scale production, which now is moving forward.

C&EN lists US producers as Abengoa (Hugoton, KS), Dupont (Nevada, IA), Fiberight, Mascoma, Mossi & Ghisolfi, and Poet (Emmetsburg, IA). Plus Shengquan and COFCO in China and DONG Energy in Denmark. GraalBio has an operation in Brazil. Mossi & Ghisolfi has a plant in Italy.

The Shenigquan plant is running in China with 6MM gal annual capacity using Novozyme enzymes. The DONG plant in Denmark is running with 1.5MM gal capacity using DuPont, Novozyme, DSM enzymes.

Dupont is the most integrated producer having acquired Danesco, which has enzymes and already is a major player in ag with its Pioneer seed business. Novozyme is the leading supplier of enzymes for corn based ethanol (used to convert cornstarch to fermentable sugars) and has sales of over $300MM to ethanol producers. Dupont and Novozyme are the leading marketers around the globe.

DSM is a player, working closely with Poet at Emmetsburg, IA. Once the details are worked out at Emmetsburg, Poet plans to add cellulosic ethanol capacity at most of its corn based ethanol plants. Production is scheduled in 2013.

Codexis is another player. They partnered with Shell, but Shell has not decided to invest in a plant. Dyadic is working with Abengoa. Mascoma has its own technology.

If all goes well, 6 plants will be running in the US by 2014 with an annual capacity of 124MM gal.
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