DSM: “We are completely committed to the POET-DSM venture and the technology.”

July 21, 2015 |

ThakrarDSM Bio-Based Products’s new chief, Atul Thakrar, visiting with The Digest on the sidelines of the BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology taking place this week in Montreal.

On POET-DSM. “We are completely committed to the POET-DSM venture and the technology. It’s harder and takes longer to get through the commissioning period than we had expected, but we are making ethanol, and we are not seeing problems with our core technology. We are working on the pre-treatment work to the point that we make ethanol on a continuous basis. Will we reach the nameplate capacity of the plant with this design? It is too soon to tell. But the important thing is that the second plant never looks exactly like the first plant, and we are working on the engineering, looking towards those future plants.

On the venture’s prospects. “Where there is corn there is stover, the POET network of plants is very large, and ultimately, after the engineering, comes the replication. LIBERTY is first. That is where our focus will be. But we know and see the opportunities far beyond.”

On the regulatory environment.  “I wish I could tell you that I see that it will be fixed overnight. But in the end it can’t be about oil vs ethanol. Energy independence is still something we need to focus on, all of us, biofuels have an important role to play, and though we’re polarized right now I hope in the long-term we can reduce those tensions.

It’s a positive sign when EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gives a speech and says that EPA is committed to providing room for growth for renewable fuels. But I don’t think the EPA has yet acknowledged that they are not yet sending correct signals to the marketplace. The way it is set up, EPA is pitting first-gen against cellulosic ethanol, when it should be about more low-carbon fuels replacing fossil fuels.”

On the POET-DSM technology advantage. “The on-site production of enzymes continues to be a key advantage, in our view, compared to the complexities of producing them in a centralized location and going through all the steps related to storage, transport and redeployment of enzymes produced in a centralized facility.”

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