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Novozymes, COFCO and Sinopec to Partner on Cellulosic Ethanol from Corn Stover in China

Novozymes and its Chinese partner COFCO have entered a new partnership with major Chinese oil and energy company Sinopec to develop a commercial-scale process for producing cellulosic bioethanol from corn stover.

Together, the three partners cover the entire value chain of bioethanol production and distribution.

China is the second-largest corn producer in the world, behind the US. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) published 12 January 2009 projects corn production in China for the 2008/2009 season will hit 165.5 million metric tons (20.9% of global total). The WASDE projects US production will be 307.39 million metric tons (38.9% of global total).

Corn currently is used in China as feed (72%); for industrial production of sugar, starch and biofuel (20%); and for food <1%). The remaining 7% is either used as seed or is lost during distribution after harvest.

Second-generation bioethanol production in China holds vast potential for Novozymes as the technology leader, and we expect to be the first company with enzymes ready for large-scale production by 2010.

—Steen Riisgaard, CEO at Novozymes

Novozymes has developed conversion processes and the advanced enzymes necessary for turning agricultural waste into second-generation bioethanol.

COFCO, China National Cereals, Oil & Foodstuff Corporation, is a leading producer and supplier of processed agricultural products. COFCO and Novozymes have cooperated for the past two years and as part of that agreement, COFCO runs a small-scale pilot plant that has been in operation for two years. COFCO will continue to operate the pilot plant and contribute its knowledge on grain processing and production of biofuel.

Sinopec is the world’s third-largest oil refiner. It owns around 30,000 gasoline stations and has a 60% share in China’s refined-oil market.


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