DuPont (DWDP) recently announced that it intends to sell its cellulosic biofuels business and its first commercial project, a 30 million gallon per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. The Nevada project is still going through start-up.
In an official statement, the company said: As part of Dow DuPont’s intent to create a leading Specialty Products Company, we are making a strategic shift in how we participate in the cellulosic biofuels market. While we still believe in the future of cellulosic biofuels we have concluded it is in our long-term interest to find a strategic buyer for our technology including the Nevada, IA biorefinery.
Operations will shut down and 90 workers were let go, according to the Des Moines Register; a small crew is still in place to maintain the facility.
When the plant opened in 2015, it was touted as the largest cellulosic ethanol plant in the country with the potential to produce 30 million gallons of ethanol a year from corn stover.
Despite the move, DuPont says it will continue to be involved in the biofuels market.
We will continue to participate in the overall biofuels market through specialty offerings including biofuel enzymes and engineered yeast solutions that improve yield and productivity for biofuel producers. We plan to work closely with local, state and federal partners to assure a smooth transition as we pursue the sale of the business. All affected employees will receive support services during this transition said the company in a statement.
There have been signs that the plant wasn’t producing up to its potential. Last year, DuPont stopped collecting corn stover from farmers because the plant had run out of storage.