April 20, 2007

D.O.E. to fund ADM/Purdue cellulosic ethanol project

Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) is a highly visible producer of biofuels utilizing corn kernels as feedstock for sugar fermentation to ethanol. It should come as no surprise that they have a vested interest in the successful commercialization of new technologies that will advance fermentation on other sources of agricultural feedstock - initially the residuals of corn conversion, eventually other crops and their residuals.

Their joint venture with Purdue on R&D of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol fermentation using new, highly-efficient yeast is a logical direction for them to take. Here is a recent press release concerning D.O.E. funding of part of this important R&D...

Joint ADM and Purdue University Cellulosic Ethanol Project Selected For Funding By U.S. Department Of Energy

April 16, 2007 - A joint BioEnergy project of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) and Purdue University has been selected to receive funding by the U.S. Department of Energy to further the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. Specifically, the Purdue-ADM project is focused on commercializing the use of highly-efficient yeast which converts cellulosic materials into ethanol through fermentation.

“As the global leader in BioEnergy, we are able to leverage our biofuel production and agricultural processing expertise to advance the development of cost-efficient processing technologies, including those that will turn cellulosic materials into ethanol and other co-products,” stated Tom Binder, President-ADM Research.

“One of our goals is to reduce the cost of the process and make it applicable for commercial production,” said Nancy Ho, the principal investigator and a researcher in Purdue’s Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE).

The development of improved fermentation organisms is a crucial step in the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol. In order to be cost-efficient and work in commercial-scale processing, such organisms must be able to produce high concentrations of ethanol from hexose and pentose sugar streams that can be derived from a wide range of plant lignocellulosic material, such as fibers, hulls, straws, soft and hardwoods.

The research team will include scientists from Purdue and from ADM. The joint project will receive federal funding, beginning this fiscal year and ending in fiscal year 2010, subject to Congressional appropriations. The Purdue-ADM project was selected, along with four other projects, by the Department of Energy for federal funding to develop improved fermentation organisms.

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