USDA, DuPont sign agreement to address sustainability of advanced fuels

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 1, 2013

The Agriculture Department today announced it will work with DuPont’s biofuels division to produce voluntary conservation standards for agricultural residues used in advanced fuels.

Under the agreement formalized this morning through a memorandum of understanding, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will help individual farmers draw up plans for harvesting agricultural residues, such as corn stover, that can be used in the production of biofuels.

DuPont will help develop a process with farmers to address soil conservation, nutrient runoff and flooding.

“USDA and DuPont share a common interest in the wise use and management of soil, water and energy resources,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement today. “Both organizations also share an interest in helping individual farmers adapt to new market opportunities in ways that are consistent with the wise use of these natural resources.”

Vilsack announced the agreement while in Des Moines, Iowa, on a visit to DuPont’s research center there. Last year, DuPont announced it had broken ground on a 30-million-gallon-a-year cellulosic ethanol plant about 40 miles north of Des Moines in Nevada, Iowa; the company intends to produce fuel from agricultural residues collected from local farmers.

Those farmers will be the first producers to take part in the residue sustainability program.

Separately, DuPont is involved in a venture with BP PLC to produce isobutanol, an advanced biofuel that can be used in existing fuel infrastructure (Greenwire, Oct. 2, 2012).