Dupont changes cellulosic ethanol name, adds management

By Matt Soberg | November 17, 2011

DuPont Industrial Biosciences announced changes to the name and management of its cellulosic ethanol operations on Nov. 15. Formerly known as DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol, operations will proceed as DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol with Steven Mirshak as business director. DuPont also named Keith Gibson as plant manager for a cellulosic ethanol facility, dubbed Project Blackhawk, planned for Nevada, Iowa, with proposed production of 27.5 MMgy, according to DuPont. 

 “Steve is ideally suited to complete the integration of our former joint venture, DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol, and drive our cellulosic ethanol business to commercialization,” said Jan Koninckx, global business director, DuPont Biofuels. 

Formerly president of DuPont Tate and Lyle Bio Products in Loudon, Tenn., Mirshak has experience commercializing biobased products, which will compliment DuPont’s effort to scale-up its cellulosic ethanol capabilities. Gibson was formerly the general manager and president of Iroquois Bio-Energy Company LLC and has experience in ethanol management and operations. 

DuPont is two years into its Stover Collection Project, collaborating with Iowa State University and local farmers to establish quality feedstock operations for its planned biorefinery. The project “plays a critical role in developing the techniques and relationships necessary for scaling up the biomass supply so that the cellulosic ethanol industry can meet the growing demands for renewable fuel both nationally and globally,” according to DuPont. The project also benefits farmers by exploring additional revenue streams through corn stover collection. 

DuPont’s 250,000 gallon per year demonstration facility in Vonore, Tenn., continues to be used to advance its technology toward commercial scale. Test harvests of switchgrass were recently carried out in the area by DuPont’s partner Genera Energy LLC.