At the 4th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing in Orlando, Fla., Novozymes (Other OTC:NVZMY.PK) yesterday introduced a five-step strategy to achieve economically viable cellulosic ethanol.
“As the biotech-based world leader in enzymes and microorganisms, Novozymes understands how biotechnology can exponentially increase benefits to society,” said Per Falholt, Novozymes chief scientific officer. “Cellulosic ethanol fuel is poised to create a multidimensional positive impact on the world’s economy, resources, environment and political situation. Novozymes’ five-step strategy is designed to foster not only the scientific progress of cellulosic ethanol, but also the commercial viability of this critical energy source.”
The strategy comprises:
1. Continued funding of research and development (specifically in the areas of biomass conversion and the development of a commercial process technology).
2. Establishment of flexible configuration testing and development centers, geographically distributed to address multiple types of biomass feedstock and integrate processes (pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation).
3. Scientific advancement to increase cost efficiency by improving underlying agricultural practices (collection and harvest of biomass) and pre-treatment methods.
4. Scientific advancement in biotechnology (including enzyme technology, metabolic engineering and novel separation methods).
5. Continued bi-partisan support of a national infrastructure to support practical implementation (including funding, incentives and tax credits.
According to Maria Rapoza, vice president for Science and Technology, “Because these new enzymatic technologies have the potential to be used on many different crops to produce biofuels from cellulose, it is important to ensure coordination at a number of different levels, including in university research programs, commercial development and agricultural production, and the identification of suitable crops.”
Novozymes is the biotech-based world leader in enzymes and microorganisms. Using nature's own technologies, they continuously expand the frontiers of biological solutions to improve industrial performance in all areas. Novozymes' more than 600 products are a key player in the production of thousands of products you use in your everyday life - from the textiles in your clothes to the food you eat. Their enzymes are used in the transformation of starch (corn, cellulosic feedstock) into different kinds of sugars in the starch and fuel industries.
Their website gives this description of how enzymes are used in ethanol production.
Today, enzymes are able to work at lower calcium ion and pH levels, making them much more robust. This allows them to work efficiently under the conditions found in dry-milling, making them more profitable in fuel ethanol production.
During liquefaction, the starch slurry is gelatinized, and starch is broken down to dextrins and small amounts of oligosaccharides. To effectively process the starch in dry-milled grains for the production of ethanol, alpha-amylases are needed to reduce dextrin chain-length and mash viscosity prior to saccharification and fermentation with yeast.