Dupont Wins Major $19 Million Grant for Sustainable Energy Project; Department of Energy Ranks DuPont Number One
Sep 12 2002
WASHINGTON, DC - Delaware's Congressional Delegation today announced that the DuPont company and its research partners have won a major federal competitive grant, beating out 200 other proposals, to secure almost $19 million to reduce energy consumption; to turn corn leftovers into Dupont fibers used to make clothing; and potentially to reduce the need for controversial government subsidies for ethanol, which is used as a low-pollution, clean air automobile fuel. "As DuPont celebrates its 200th anniversary, I commend them for winning this competitive grant. DuPont is a leader in researching and developing new energy technologies," said Sen. Biden. "This money will help them develop a more efficient, environmentally friendly energy supply that will not only address America's energy needs, but also help create jobs in Delaware and save taxpayers money." Senator Tom Carper, a longtime supporter of the promise of alternative and renewable fuels, held a series of town hall meetings across the state last year called "Conversations on America's Energy Future". In the meetings Carper highlighted Delaware's energy innovators and the opportunities that exist to build consensus on improving energy conservation while responsibly developing new and alternative sources of energy. "For two centuries, Dupont has developed pioneering solutions to challenging problems. Producing affordable, renewable energy and also a useful fiber at the same time could be its next achievement. This really could be a breakthrough technology, the kind that moves our energy security several steps forward," said Senator Carper, a member of the U.S. Senate Energy Committee. "Dupont has a history of innovation and now the support of the federal government to make this renewable energy dream a reality." Congressman Castle, who fully supported DuPont's application in a letter writing and phone call campaign, fought vigorously to restore proposed cuts to the renewable energy budget to allow for this grant competition to move forward. "New energy sources are key to our nation's long term energy security and DuPont is leading the way to energy independence. They are streamlining their process, cutting federal subsidies, creating jobs and saving federal tax dollars. This type of ingenuity should be a model for all companies dedicated to pursuing environmental protection and energy conservation," Castle said. Out of 200 project applicants, DuPont's Integrated Corn-based Bioproducts Refinery research and development application was ranked number one in a stiff grant competition by the Department of Energy. DuPont will match the $18,259,568 grant with $18,930,792 in company funds to develop an integrated biorefinery that would take corn and corn biomass, ferment it into sugars and produce two products--ethanol which will continued to be used as a clean air automobile fuel and a chemical used to make high-tech DuPont fibers, used in clothing production. This process currently occurs in two separate manufacturing processes that consumes 72% more fossil energy than DuPont's new technology would consume. The new process would cut production costs for ethanol by 15-20%, and could lower the federal subsidy for ethanol by as much as 25%. Currently, ethanol costs more than gasoline to produce. To encourage its use and clean air benefits, ethanol enjoys a 5.3 cent per gallon exemption from the 18.4 cent per gallon fuel tax used to fund highway and transit projects around the country. This $18,259,568 grant will go primarily to the government-industry project partnership team, participating in this cutting edge biotechnology project, with DuPont, including Michigan State University, Diversa Corporation, John Deere, Inc. and the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. Most of the money DuPont is matching will be spent on research and development at the Experimental Station in New Castle County.