I am studying for my midterm exam (which has been delayed because of the hurricane) so posts will be few in the next several days. In the meantime, I did promise a certain somebody that I will post some information about DSM’s brief media roundtable that happened last week in New York. I will insert some of my tweets (and pics) from the roundtable while I narrate some of the discussions during the session. By the way, thanks to those who RT’d my tweets (see some below)…
Sneaked in…pretending to be a reporter so I can get some cookies and coffee for breakfast at the DSM Media… http://fb.me/1OXjVNbUm
My overall impression about the roundtable was that DSM CEO Feike Sijbesma just wanted to reiterate their commitment in cellulosic biofuels. Sijbesma also gave a more long term humanistic rationale (something about your grandkids and great-grandkids environmental future) on why companies now need to incorporate sustainability into all of their businesses.
DSM also recently implemented a sustainability data management system called Credit360 where DSM’s carbon footprint will be calculated. Credit360 said its web based sustainability solution is being implemented across the entire DSM business to collect data from over 110 sites in over 40 countries.
Sijbesma did not mention this system in the roundtable by the way, but I just wanted to add this information since this press release was published at that day.
RT @DGreenblogger: #DSM said sustainability and acquisitions will be key for growth http://twitpic.com/b79s5o
Within the biofuel sector, Sijbesma noted slowed growth for ethanol that uses corn (and other food-based feedstock). As he previously noted, economics is one of the reasons why the company is in this space and DSM’s enzymes business will definitely profit from a more robust second generation biofuel commercialization.
#DSM: First generation ethanol will not grow anymore. 2nd gen ethanol market will be huge. We will work in the US, Brazil, Asia…
DSM noted its cellulosic ethanol joint venture with US producer POET. The JV’s planned 20m-25m gal/year cellulosic ethanol facility in Emmetsburg, Iowa, dubbed “Project Liberty” is expected to be complete in late 2013 to early 2014. The facility will use corn cobs, leaves, husk and some stalk for feedstock.
POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels also announced last week that it has contracted ANDRITZ to supply a two-step biomass treatment process in order to break down cellulose to produce their ethanol.
The ANDRITZ technology is said to be a two-stage process that includes a vertical reactor, an interstage washer and then the continuous steam explosion technology (Advanced SteamEx™ process) to draw out available sugars from the cellulose material.
#DSM For Project Liberty, we are already buying corn stover/cobs from farmers and storing it. Price of corn waste around $50-$70/ bdm.
According to Steve Hartig, vice president, bio-energy at DSM’s Biobased Products and Services, the company is looking to spend $20m buying corn for the Project Liberty plant. “Price of corn stover/cobs will be regionalized. POET has very good relationship with farmers,” he added.
As you can see from the picture above, Hartig said the JV has already been buying its cellulosic feedstock corn cobs and light stover from farmers nearby that POET has contracted. POET has already taken in most of the contracted 85,000 tons of biomass and POET-DSM plans to collect 285,000 tons/year of biomass for Project Liberty at full scale.
The stored cellulosics could last for up to a year and they are continuously monitoring the storing condition, said Hartig.
Sijbesma said that DSM’s plan is not to be a producer but to license their technologies as soon as they can prove that their cellulosic ethanol production is feasible via Project Liberty. While POET will deal with the collection, storage and pre-treatment of the biomass, DSM will provide the enzyme and yeast for fermentation.
POET currently operates 27 corn-based ethanol facilities across the US and therefore DSM has the potential to license its enzyme/yeast technology through POET’s ethanol network as well as other ethanol producers. The company said it has strong position in enzymes that can convert C5/C6 cellulosics to sugars.
DSM also briefly mentioned advanced biodiesel as a big growth area given the demand for diesel such as in government use, aviation, and other transportation markets. The company is currently working with BP on the development of sugar diesel which started with BP’s collaboration with algae technology developer Martek Biosciences in 2009. DSM acquired Martek in 2011.
Below is a video of some of the current developments in the BP-DSM collaboration.
Introducing Sugar-to-Diesel, an advanced biofuel of the future
Meanwhile, the blog of course had to ask about DSM’s biobased chemicals businesses. Sijbesma noted DSM’s bio-succinic acid joint venture Reverdia with France-based Roquette. Reverdia is expected to soon start its 10,000 tonnes/year facility in Cassano Spinola, Italy.
With biosuccinic acid, we are about to start the Italy plant but we are now looking for another plant with bigger capacity @DGreenblogger
I asked DSM if the US shale gas boom will affect their investment in biobased chemicals here in the US. According to Hartig and Sijbesma, plentiful supply of natural gas (for feedstock?) will actually attract more biobased chemicals companies to set up shop in the US.
In the US, #DSM is looking to invest in bio-based chems at mid-scale capacity, more geared towards specialty chems applications.
Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype?
Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry.
She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.