Dupont looking to corner U.S.' cellulosic ethanol industry with acquisition of Dansico

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is the town of Vonore, TN. While it's not exactly the type of city that one would associate with cutting-edge cellulosic ethanol production, it is here that DuPont, the U.S. chemical company, is trying to buy Danisco's joint-owned facility for nearly $6 billion in an attempt to gain a fair amount of control over the U.S.' cellulosic ethanol industry.

DuPont already has a working joint venture with Danisco, with the two firms developing second-generation cellulosic ethanol at the joint-owned demonstration plant, but the planned acquisition would give DuPont full control. Danisco makes enzymes that enable biomass – e.g., straw husks, switchgrass and sugarcane – to be broken down and fermented into usable ethanol.

Cellulosic ethanol is thought to be one of the more promising long-term alternatives to petroleum-based fuels because, unlike corn-based ethanol, it can be made from agricultural waste, avoiding competition with the food industry over edible crops.

[Source: Financial Times]

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