DuPont announces MOU for cellulosic ethanol project in Macedonia

By DuPont | October 20, 2014

The government of the Republic of Macedonia has joined a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to facilitate the development of the cellulosic ethanol market in the Pelagonia region between Ethanol Europe and DuPont.  This collaboration agreement brings together three critical components for the preparation of detailed feasibility studies for a commercial scale second-generation ethanol plant to supply the European market.

According to the terms of the MOU, the government of Macedonia will facilitate the project in establishing a viable supply chain using energy crops, increasing local production of cereals and oilseeds, and offering incentives for renewable biomass electricity for the nation’s power grid. Ethanol Europe will create an investment plan with the intent to develop the sustainable agricultural supply chain, project design, project financing, and construction of a 100 million liter (26.42 million gallon) biorefinery. DuPont is to license the cellulosic ethanol technology currently being commercialized in their Nevada, Iowa, biorefinery, supplying the enzymes that unlock the sugars in biomass and by including the intellectual know how in developing a sustainable agricultural supply chain practices. 

Through appropriate modern agricultural practices, a Macedonian cellulosic plant could encourage remarkable levels of soil carbon sequestration and improvement within Macedonia, as well as very high levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) savings from the cellulosic ethanol produced.

“We believe the Macedonian cellulosic project can reassert Europe’s leadership in the bioeconomy,” said Eric Sievers, CEO of Ethanol Europe.  “This project provides a road map forward on how Europe can replace fossil fuels with biofuels that add to global food security.   The European Parliament must create a stable, renewable energy policy environment that encourages investments in advanced biofuels innovation to enable projects like this to bring economic and social as well as substantial job creation to underdeveloped regions of rural Europe.  We are very pleased to have obtained the support of a technical partner of the caliber of DuPont for this project”.

“Today’s announcement is further acknowledgement of the viability of DuPont’s integrated biorefinery model,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director for advanced biofuels at DuPont. “This project is particularly significant for its use of purpose grown energy crops as the primary feedstock. Ethanol Europe’s success in developing a highly efficient first generation ethanol facility in Hungary has been a key factor in our decision to partner with them in introducing our technology to Europe.”  

The potential GHG savings from the Macedonian cellulosic plant's ethanol could exceed 100 percent under the methodology of the EU's Renewable Energy Directive, all while having no adverse impacts on food security.