Novozymes to launch 2nd generation biofuels

15 October 2008 23:15  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Denmark-based Novozymes expects to launch its enzyme-based biomass degradation technology in 2010 for second-generation biofuels that are made from biowaste, or cellulosic biomass, a company official said Wednesday.

“Second-gen cellulosic bioethanol will reduce CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions by about 90%,” said Thomas Videbaek, executive vice president, BioBusiness, Novozymes, at a meeting for Societé de Chimie Industrielle in New York City.

In 2007, biofuel production replaced 1m bbl/day crude oil everyday, he said. Bioethanol reduces CO2 emissions by 30-70% compared with gasoline, he said.

“We save 30 kilograms of CO2 for every 1 kilogram of enzyme used,” Videbaek said.

That translates to about 20m tonnes/year of CO2 emissions reduction, he said.

Videbaek said this was just one example of how Novozymes uses biotechnology to affect the chemical industry. Novozymes has also teamed up with US-based Cargill to develop commercial solutions for bio-acrylic acid.

“If successful, we calculate a full-scale bio-acrylic acid plant that can produce 160,000 tonnes/year,” he said.

The company will still need to deal with a host of difficult challenges, but Videbaek said Novozymes is ready. One challenge is that pricing of renewable feedstocks can cause an increase in the raw material cost structure.

Another challenge is surpassing the standards of traditional chemistry, he said. Chemicals today are already low cost and considered optimal performers, he said.

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By: Feliza Mirasol
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