Home > Our Responsibility > 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report > Environmental Stewardship > Charting the future of renewable fuels, chemicals and industrial products

ADM, a leading producer of today’s ethanol and biodiesel, continues to collaborate with a number of corporations and academic institutions to pioneer a new generation of renewable, clean-burning transportation fuels or fuel components made from abundant but low-value resources such as crop residue, energy crops and wood chips. Efforts of this type will be essential to enabling the U.S. to reach its goal of having advanced and cellulosic biofuels make up 21 billion gallons of the nation’s fuel supply by 2022.


In 2007, we embarked on a joint effort with Deere & Company and Monsanto to determine the best methods for sustainably harvesting corn stover — the stalks, cobs and leaves of corn plants — for use in next-generation biofuels, in animal feed, and as a feedstock for producing steam and electricity in agricultural processing operations. Our companies proceeded to collect approximately 3,500 tons of stover, transported a portion of the material for use as a biomass fuel at ADM’s Cedar Rapids co-generation facility, and worked with the remainder to determine optimal conditions under which the crop residue should be stored to ensure its longer-term viability. The project's next phase will involve identifying practical ways to compress, or densify, the stover in order to lower transportation and storage costs.

Additional means of generating energy from remaining stalks, cobs, and leaves include biofuel feedstock, generating steam and electricity, and animal feed.

At the same time, we continue to work with ConocoPhillips to engineer and commercialize a process for turning biomass into biocrude, which can be converted to gasoline and gasoline components in traditional refineries and distributed using existing fuel-delivery networks. A pilot plant for turning sugar streams from corn fiber into gasoline components is now under way; as the technology continues to evolve, we are exploring various options for expanding production to a commercial scale.

Meanwhile, in partnership with the University of Kansas’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, we are exploring ways to use renewable resources in fuels, key chemicals, plastics and other common materials. The efforts focus on biofuels development, converting carbohydrate feedstock into engineering plastic, and converting vegetable oils to lubricants and other industrial chemicals


ADM began operations in 1902 as a manufacturer of linseed oil — a polymer-like ingredient commonly used in various varnishes, oil paints, resins and solvents. Today, we continue to work toward the development of renewable chemicals and industrial products derived from agricultural sources.

From feedstocks such as corn and oilseeds, we are creating direct replacements for petroleum products — including USP- and industrial-grade propylene glycol used in pharmaceuticals, personal-care items, cosmetics, laundry detergents and antifreeze.

From feedstocks such as corn and oilseeds, we are creating direct replacements for petroleum products
that are renewable, biodegradable and sustainable
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