At the American Feed Industry Association 2010 Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference in San Antonio, Texas, a succession of industry economists questioned the commercial practicality of the federal mandate to deliver 16 billion gallons of ethanol from cellulosic sources by 2022. In his review of trends and prices, Richard Brock of the agricultural commodity advisory firm Brock Associates indicated that there would be no significant moves toward large-scale production of the commodity in the next five years and added, “we may never see cellulosic ethanol.”

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Some small-scale projects are underway. A recent press release marked the commissioning of a DuPont and Danisco joint venture in conjunction with the University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative. The $50M biorefinery demonstration unit, located in Vonore, Tenn., will use inedible cellulosic sources, as well as cellulosic feed stock and grain, for a projected capacity of 250,000 gallons of ethanol per year. The joint venture partners also invested $100M in basic research.