Danish biotech firm shelves plans for second Brazil facility

02 July 2013 21:59  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--A lack of potential partners has forced Novozymes, a leading supplier of enzymes used in the production of cellulosic ethanol, to postpone plans to open a second production facility in Brazil, the company said on Tuesday.

Denmark-based Novozymes said in May last year that it planned to establish new manufacturing facilities in Brazil to meet growing demand for enzyme use in ethanol, and that it had already begun the search for possible locations.

Enzymes are used to convert biomass such as non-food crops, agricultural residues and industrial waste into sugar that can then be fermented into cellulosic ethanol.

“The company is waiting for some more partners to show interest that justifies the construction of a new facility,” said Novozymes spokesperson Henrique Pellini. 

Novozymes has an agreement in place to supply enzyme technology to Brazilian biofuels producer GranBio from its existing production facility in the state of Parana.

GranBio is currently building Brazil’s first cellulosic ethanol plant in the northern state of Alagoas, with start-up expected in the first quarter of 2014.

“Our current facility is sufficiently able to provide enzymes to the first cellulosic ethanol plant that will operate in Brazil from next year,” Pellini said.

Despite the postponement, the company remains confident that the advanced biofuels industry in Brazil will continue to expand and that demand for Novozymes’ enzyme technology will follow.

According to the company, global production capacity of advanced biofuels is expected to reach 945m litres in 2014, with a large chunk of that production based in Brazil.

“Novozymes maintains its optimism with regards to the development of the biofuels market in Brazil,” Pellini said. 

Other companies that seek to gain a foothold in the market include British firm TMO Renewables, who announced in April this year a joint venture with Brazil’s Usina Santa Maria to build a bioethanol facility in the state of Sao Paulo, with start-up also expected in 2014.

By: Simon West

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