DSM, CIMV Produce Ethanol From Wheat Straw in Biofuel Project

Royal DSM NV and France’s CIMV SA produced ethanol from wheat straw in a test run of a project led by French agricultural researcher INRA to develop so-called second-generation biofuels.

Levallois-Perret, France-based CIMV broke down the straw into raw materials including cellulose, and DSM used enzymes to convert the cellulose into glucose that was in turn fermented to make ethanol, INRA said in a statement on its website today.

The companies and INRA are cooperating in the European Union’s Biocore project to develop industrial-scale processing of agricultural waste and forestry residues into fuel and chemicals. Second-generation biofuel is based on non-edible feed stocks, rather than food crops such as corn.

“Ethanol produced from food commodities, such as sucrose or grain wheat, is often rejected by public opinion because of the direct competition that it creates with food,” Michael O’Donohue, scientific coordinator for Biocore, said in the statement.

Arkema SA, a French chemical maker, will use the second-generation ethanol to make ethylene, a raw material for plastics, as part of a pilot project to show how wheat straw can be converted into PVC, according to the statement.