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DSM & DONG Energy Demonstrate Low-cost Production of Bio-ethanol from Cellulosic Feedstock

December 30, 2013

Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, announced that together with DONG Energy (Denmark) it has demonstrated the combined fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars from wheat straw on an industrial scale. The combined fermentation results in a 40% increase in ethanol yield per ton of straw, which can result in significant cost cuts in the production of bio-ethanol from cellulosic feedstock.

At the core of DSM's strategic focus on Life Sciences and Materials Sciences is the combination of Life Sciences competences with Chemical and Materials Sciences competences. DSM believes that this 'Bright Science' will open up a broad range of opportunities in the move towards a bio-based economy, particularly in bioenergy carriers such as cellulosic bio-ethanol, advanced biodiesel and biogas, and renewable chemicals and building blocks such as bio-based succinic acid and bio-based adipic acid. DSM's Bio-Energy cluster has its main activities in Elgin, IL (USA), São Paulo (Brazil), and Delft (the Netherlands).

The demonstration took place in DONG Energy's Inbicon demonstration plant in Kalundborg (Denmark), the longest running demonstration facility for cellulosic bio-ethanol production in the world. The facility was reconstructed in 2013 in order to be able to conduct mixed fermentation of C6 and C5 sugars. In a two month fermentation test mixed C6 and C5 fermentation using DSM's advanced yeast was found to yield 40% more ethanol per ton of straw than traditional C6 fermentation.

In this demonstration, DSM has successfully established a supply chain framework for C5/C6 dry yeast and shown its ability to produce and transport this advanced yeast for use on an industrial scale.