In 2010, the CEO of what was then DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE), the joint venture formed to develop and deploy cellulosic conversion technology, traveled to eastern Oregon to the headquarters of Pacific Ag.
At the time, DDCE had a fledgling 225,000-gallon-a-year demonstration plant in Vonore, Tennessee. DuPont was still refining the technology and testing diverse feedstocks, but the results pointed toward development of a commercial-scale plant to run on crop residue from corn (corn stover).
To move the development process forward they needed a suitable plant site, and, more importantly, they needed to understand how to build and operate a supply chain that could feasibly produce 350,000 dry tons of corn stover to meet the plant’s needs reliably and sustainably.
There were few if any examples of commercial-scale crop residue supply chains in the US, with the exception of what Pacific Ag had built and was operating in Oregon and Washington to supply crop residue forage for domestic and export animal protein markets.
While global chemical giant DuPont had deep roots in the agricultural sector with its ownership of Pioneer Seed, it had no experience operating large fleets of biomass harvesting equipment nor experience building and maintaining service relationships with growers based on managing their excess crop residue.
What came of that series of meetings in early 2010 is a relationship between DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol (they purchased Danisco) and Pacific Ag that has flourished. Following more than five years of harvest trials and experimentation in Iowa, we’ve grown to full commercial operation there, supporting creation of the corn stover supply chain that feeds the newly constructed cellulosic ethanol facility in Nevada, Iowa.
Today, DuPont has begun the commissioning process for their first commercial cellulosic biorefinery and Pacific Ag is proud to be the largest independent harvest and supply chain partner to this new plant.