DuPont highlights cellulosic ethanol in first quarter results

By Erin Voegele | April 23, 2015

DuPont briefly addressed ethanol during its first quarter investor call, reporting the company is developing new categories of biobased products, including cellulosic ethanol.

During an investor call, Ellen J. Kullman, chairman and CEO of DuPont, said the company is focused on creating new categories of renewably sourced biobased products, such as cellulosic ethanol, ag biologicals and industrial enzymes. “One notable example is Tide Coldwater Clean detergent, which is the first branded product to use cellulosic ethanol as an ingredient in a scalable commercial way,” she said.

Responding to a question on how DuPont’s biomaterials and biofuels platform competes at current low oil prices, Kullman indicated bioactives aren’t significantly impacted. “Well, bioactives really aren't impacted by the price of oil,” she said. “And that's where tremendous amount of growth and opportunity are coming from. We see it in the animal nutrition area, we see it in the human nutrition area. We see it in—even in ethanol, where increases in gasoline are really continuing to drive opportunities there. So bioactives remains strong.”

Regarding DuPont’s 30 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant under construction in Nevada, Iowa, Kullan added that “the plant is coming up this quarter.”

DuPont reported operating earnings of $1.34 per share the first quarter, including a 25 cent per share negative currency impact. During the same quarter of 2014, the company reported operating earnings of $1.58 per share. GAPP earnings were $1 billion, or $1.13 per share, compared to $1.4 billion, or $1.54 per share, in the prior year.

The company’s Industrial Biosciences division reported segment sales of $285 million for the quarter, down 5 percent from the same quarter of the previous year, and operating income of $56 million, consistent with the first quarter of 2014. According to DuPont, increased enzyme demand, principally in food markets, was offset by the negative impact of currency and lower biomaterials sales.