Novozymes is proposing a five-step strategy to achieve economically viable cellulosic ethanol.
The company introduced its strategy at a press conference at the 4th Annual World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing. A panel discussion followed, featuring Per Falholt, Novozymes chief scientific officer; Maria Rapoza, vice president for Science and Technology, North Carolina Biotechnology Center; and Dan Schwartzkopf, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) dragster and Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) representative.
The strategy comprises:
Continued funding of research and development (specifically in the areas of biomass conversion and the development of a commercial process technology).
Establishment of flexible configuration testing and development centers, geographically distributed to address multiple types of biomass feedstock and integrate processes (pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation).
Scientific advancement to increase cost efficiency by improving underlying agricultural practices (collection and harvest of biomass) and pre-treatment methods.
Scientific advancement in biotechnology (including enzyme technology, metabolic engineering and novel separation methods).
Continued bi-partisan support of a national infrastructure to support practical implementation (including funding, incentives and tax credits).
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.—Maria Rapoza