|Cellulosic Ethanol Process. Click to enlarge.|
Novozymes has received the 2005 Technology Leadership of the Year Award from Frost & Sullivan in the field of alternative fuel technologies for its research to reduce the enzyme cost for cellulosic ethanol.
In April 2005, 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. (Earlier post.)
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 a 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.
Separately, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a policy paper (Bringing Biofuels to the Pump) that called for, among other measures, investing $1 billion in deployment policies from 2006 to 2015 that drive the development of the first billion gallons of cellulosic biofuels capacity at a price approaching that of gasoline and diesel.