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Bio Fuels/Enzyme Technology Paving the Way For Advanced Bio Fuels

Editor: Dominik Stephan

With a new technology, enzyme specialists Novozyme expect significant improvements in the production of advanced bio fuels from agricultural residues and waste. Now, as the first commercial scale bio–refineries are about to be brought on–stream, this new technology is put to the test.

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Europe could save up to 54 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by conevrting only 17.5 percent of its agraic residues to next generation bio fuels, a Bloomberg report states. (sPicture: Novozymes)
Europe could save up to 54 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by conevrting only 17.5 percent of its agraic residues to next generation bio fuels, a Bloomberg report states. (sPicture: Novozymes)

Bio fuels have been one of the big bio–technology buzzwords for the last decade. And, although first results are promising, sustainable second generation bio fuels yet have to prove their viability. One sticking point has always been the fermentative conversion of raw materials to fuel ethanol. Now the industrial biotechnology company Novozymes states its new enzyme technologies are able to ouperform its older technologies by about 1.5 times – With first commercial operations now going on–stream, this claim will be put to the test soon.

Biotechnologies offer vast potentials: A recent report Bloomberg New Energy Finance came to the conclusion, that about 50 percent of the global demand for gasoline could be replaced by bio fuels by 2030. Only 17.5 percent of the global agricultural residue would suffice to generate millions of jobs while significantly reducing the global economic footprint, the analysts say.

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Put to the Test: First Commercial Plants Go On–Stream

Advanced bio fuels are about to prove their worth: “The first plants start commercial production of advanced bio fuels this year,” says Novozymes’ CEO Steen Riisgaard. “Novozymes has signed supply deals with a number of the leading players in this field, and we’re thrilled to supply the enzymes that will enable an advanced bio fuels industry and contribute to job creation, economic growth, and energy security.”

New Enzyme Technology for Advanced Biofuels

The biotechnology company had recently unveiled its latest development, Cellic CTec3, an enzyme that enables cost-efficient conversion of biomass to ethanol and performs 1.5 times better than Novozymes’ previous market-leading product, Cellic CTec2, the company states. According to Novozymes, biofuel producers need only one-fifth of the enzyme dose compared to competing enzymes when using CTec3. This could help to reduce the cost of producing ethanol from biomass to approach the level of corn ethanol and gasoline, company speakers explain.

“With our new product, Cellic CTec3, and the first plants starting commercial production, this is a huge step forward in the transition from an oil-based economy to a bio-based economy. We will continue to develop more efficient enzymes to further reduce the total cost of producing advanced bio fuels,” Riisgaard explaines.

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