DuPont definitely has a horse in the race to increase the biofuels available to U.S. consumers; therefore, it was natural that the company would be represented at a U.S. congressional committee hearing about biofuels’ role in creating jobs and lowering gasoline prices.
In testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee this week, Jan Koninckx, global business director for Biorefineries at DuPont, called on Congress to preserve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which he said has spurred hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment in advanced biofuels and is expediting the transition from a petroleum-based to a bio-based global economy.
“The bottom line here is that driven by the RFS, we have completely re-imagined how we fuel our planet. We do so with renewable resources without adding any additional CO2 into the atmosphere. It is a remarkable achievement. And when you look at this from the perspective of a science company – this has actually gone quite fast,” said Koninckx.
He contended in his testimony that the RFS as established has been very positive for the nation. “Since its enactment, the RFS has made homegrown renewable fuel 10 percent of our nation’s gasoline supply, lowered greenhouse gas emissions by 33.4 million metric tons, added $500 billion in value to America’s farmlands, lowered gas prices by $1.09 per gallon and created a real choice at the pump.
Koninckx cited DuPont’s investment in biofuels, including cellulosic technologies that use corn stover to produce ethanol.
“For the past four years we have brought together growers, academia, public institutions like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and custom equipment makers to conduct harvest trials on corn stover. Together, we have developed an entirely new model for biomass harvest, transportation and supply to a biorefinery. It is cost competitive and fully sustainable – preserving the land for generations to come.”
DuPont also is leading the industry in the development of another type of advanced renewable fuel, biobutanol, Koninckx noted, pointing out that the company’s joint venture Butamax with partner BP, is on track for commercial scale production in the United States around 2015. Biobutanol, with advanced fuel properties and high energy density helps to further secure U.S. leadership in the global biofuels market.
DuPont is developing these advanced biofuels and other bio-based products with an emphasis on sustainability. Koninckx cited the most recent example of this commitment: an agreement with the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop voluntary standards for the sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues for renewable fuel.
Koninckx said, “The Renewable Fuel Standard is working as intended. 2014 is a watershed in our history as an industry – the year we take this technology commercial – and a critical year for all parties to remain steadfast in their commitment to biofuels.”