DuPont’s Koninckx Calls on Congress to Protect Renewable Fuel Standard, Continue Progress Toward a Biobased Economy

Senate testimony outlines investments in cellulosic ethanol and rapid path to commercialization.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, April 8, 2014 – In testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee today, Jan Koninckx, global business director for Biorefineries at DuPont, called on Congress to preserve the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which has spurred hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment in advanced biofuels and is expediting the transition from a petroleum-based to a biobased economy.

Koninckx delivered his testimony as part of a Committee hearing on advanced biofuels’ role in creating jobs and lowering gasoline prices. He emphasized the scope of the opportunity and also how quickly the promise of a biobased economy has been realized.

“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.

“Certainly faster than the fossil fuel industry developed over a century ago and with a footprint they still can’t come close to achieving today. DuPont has over 210 years of bringing scientific innovation to market. In my estimation, we’ve never delivered this type of disruptive technology so quickly.”

Koninckx cited the company’s investment in biofuels, including cellulosic technologies that use corn stover — or the crop waste left over after a corn harvest — 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 biobased products with an emphasis on sustainability. Koninckx cited the most recent example of this commitment: an agreement with the USDA to develop voluntary standards for the sustainable harvesting of agricultural residues for renewable fuel.

“Our sustainable farm-to-fuels approach for corn stover set the stage for this agreement between our company and the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The agreement is facilitating the development of conservation planning assistance for farmers who supply biobased feedstocks to biorefineries as the industry begins to commercialize.

Koninckx concluded, “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.

“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 a biobased economy.”