Tech. Leadership Award for Biofuels Advancement

Novozymes received the 2005 Technology Leadership of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan in the field of alternative fuel technologies for its pioneering research to reduce the enzyme cost for biomass-based fuel ethanol.

This spring Novozymes announced a 30-fold reduction in the enzyme cost of converting cellulosic biomass in this case, corn stover into fermentable sugars for use in fuel ethanol production. Novozymes said that because of their work, enzymes are no longer the main economic barrier to the commercialization of biomass technology that could help reduce dependency on nonrenewable and petroleum-based energy and raw material sources. Under a $16.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, Novozymes and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began research in 2001 to dramatically cut the cost of converting cellulose biomass from corn stover into sugars for the production of fuel ethanol and other products. By using its comprehensive range of proprietary biotech tools to identify new enzymes, engineer and boost catalytic activity, and increase production yield, Novozymes reduced the overall enzyme cost from more than US$5 to US$0.10-0.18 per gallon in laboratory trials. This 30-fold reduction was due to a combination of pretreatment technology developed by NREL and novel enzyme solutions from Novozymes. “What’s especially heartening about this honor…is that it celebrates not only the promise of enzymes to make biomass a viable fuel source, but also the value of industrial biotechnology to solve real-world problems and promote a sustainable future,” said Glenn Nedwin, president of Novozymes, Inc., the company’s Davis, Calif.-based research subsidiary that spearheaded the work.

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