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Novozymes receives $2.5M award from DOE to improve advanced biofuels production

8 January 2013

Novozymes received an award of up to $2.5 million from the US Department of Energy to find new and more efficient enzymes for turning corn stover into fuel for cars and trucks. (Earlier post.) The funded project, entitled “SynTec,” was submitted by Novozymes and its partner MBI.

The project will run two years, relying on biology to rapidly and cost-effectively screen natural enzyme diversity for the best performing enzymes. Each combination of enzymes will be tested on pretreated agricultural waste that can first be converted into sugars and then into bio-based products and advanced biofuels.

Novozymes’ work will support the DOE’s focus on research, development and demonstration efforts to achieve affordable, scalable and sustainable advanced biofuels. Novozymes has already reduced the cost of enzyme production for biofuels by 90%. Once the new screening process is proven, it can be used to rapidly develop tailored cost-effective enzyme solutions for specific industrial biorefineries.

This is the third time Novozymes has partnered with the DOE for bioenergy enzyme development. Prior contracts include:

  • Bioenergy (subcontractor to National Renewable Energy Lab): $13.8 million (2001-2005)

  • Development of a Commercial-Ready Enzyme Application System for Ethanol: $12.3 million (2008-2012)

In February, 2012, Novozymes launched its latest enzyme solution, Cellic CTec3 for advanced biofuels. The product enables cost-efficient conversion of biomass to ethanol and performs 1.5 times better than Novozymes’ previous version Cellic CTec2. (Earlier post.)

MBI is a Lansing, Michigan-based not-for-profit company with 30 years of experience in accelerating the commercialization of bio-based technologies. MBI is leveraging its pilot facility and multi-disciplinary team to derisk and scale up AFEX, an innovative biomass processing technology that enables the generation of low-cost sugars from non-food sources. MBI is affiliated with Michigan State University, and is a member of the MSU BioEconomy Network.

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