InterviewSyngenta aims to cut biofuel costs
01 May 2008 08:09 [Source: ICIS news]
?xml:namespace>CHICAGO (ICIS news)--Swiss agrichemical firm Syngenta has the capability to significantly reduce the costs of corn stover-based biofuels using genetic modification of the biomass, a company executive said.?xml:namespace>
The biggest challenge for cellulosic biofuel production is high capital costs driven from the needed high volume use of the expensive enzyme cellulase, said John Steffens, Syngenta’s regulatory affairs manager, in an interview late on Wednesday with ICIS news on the sidelines of the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology & Bioprocessing conference here.
“A commercial-scale cellulosic biofuels facility aiming to convert 500,000 tonnes/year of biomass would require around 25,000 tonnes of cellulose,” he said.
“What we are developing right now is to produce cellulase in the corn stover itself to lower production cost and solve several other enzyme-related challenges that face the biomass-based fuel industry,” added Steffens.
The research was still at an early stage, according to Steffens, but the company already had several successes in the laboratory in producing cellulases at very high levels.
Syngenta said it was also working on sugarcane as well as looking at tropical sugar beet in terms of putting cellulases into the crop for biofuel production.
“Production of cellulosic biofuels is still far ahead,” said Steffens. “Much more work is needed but the technologies and capabilities are already in existence to make this industry economically viable.”
The three-day industrial biotechnology conference ended on Wednesday.
Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
By: Doris de Guzman+1 713 525 2653
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