Improving Ethanol Fuel Processes — Without Using Antibiotics

We’re helping to create biofuels as a better alternative to fossil fuels.
A farm worker in Grenada balances sugarcane just cut in the field.

Improving Fossil Fuel Alternatives

To help satisfy the world’s need for locally sourced, cost-effective fossil fuel alternatives, DuPont designed a fermentation technique during the ethanol fuel process to help create high-performance biofuel from prevalent agricultural feed stocks like corn and sugarcane. Thanks in part to scientific innovations like this, the U.S. and Brazil are now the largest producers and exporters of ethanol. The fermentation process comes with a major challenge: eliminating bacteria that can stress or kill the yeast and reduce ethanol yields. Though antibiotics have long been the common remedy, antibiotic use is suspected of contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, and regulatory agencies are considering restrictions on them.

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Quick Facts

500 million gallons of extra ethanol can get you to the moon and back nearly 22,000 times.

DuPont answered this challenge with FermaSure® XL — a more sustainable ethanol fuel production process that rapidly attacks and decreases harmful bacteria while increasing ethanol fermentation rates and efficiency without the use of antibiotics. Its active ingredient, chlorine dioxide, has been used for decades in drinking water disinfection treatments . . . even in mouthwash. FermaSure® XL doesn’t inhibit yeast growth, reproduction, or fermentation.

Customers who have used FermaSure® XL in their fermentation process can experience a 5% improvement in ethanol fuel production. In the U.S. alone, that could lead to more than 500 million gallons of extra ethanol produced every year — the fuel equivalent of driving to the moon and back nearly 22,000 times. And FermaSure® XL has achieved Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) regulatory status, enabling corn-based biofuel producers to use their co-products — distiller’s grain and yeast — as antibiotic-free feed for beef and dairy cattle. Around the world, and across multiple industries, DuPont is producing solutions that provide for a more sustainable future.

  • CHALLENGE: Energy
  • INDUSTRY: Renewable Energy
  • LOCATION: Wilmington, DE