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New Enzyme Increases Corn Ethanol Yields By More Than 1%

Novozymes has launched of a new enzyme that makes it possible to produce more ethanol from the same amount of corn.

The product, Spirizyme Excel, converts more starch in corn, wheat, and other feedstocks into sugars which can be fermented to ethanol, thereby allowing producers to increase yields by more than one percent. Compared to other available solutions, a typical ethanol plant can gain $1 million or more per year using the enzyme, according to the company.

Unlike other starch-converting enzymes, Spirizyme Excel breaks down the most difficult starch fractions in the feedstock to maximize biofuel production yields. The greater the starch conversion, the higher the output of ethanol.

Today, an average acre of corn will yield roughly 440 gallons of ethanol. Corn yields have improved by 70% per acre and ethanol plants can get 50% more ethanol out of the corn compared to 1977.

Novozymes has achieved great breakthroughs in cellulosic biofuel recently, but this does not mean we have forgotten about corn ethanol. We have delivered market-leading innovation to this industry for a long time and we will continue to do so both for corn and cellulosic ethanol.

—Poul Ruben Andersen, Biofuel Marketing Director of Novozymes



1% productivity gain?

Chris Jensen

"Compared to other available solutions, a typical ethanol plant can gain $1 million or more per year using the enzyme, according to the company. "

This is good news. Incremental gains in ethanol production will benefit everyone.


Cellulose processing front ends to existing ethanol plants can get us off grain and on to cellulose. Now use the heat from condensing power plants to distill the ethanol and save more energy.


Corn ethanol is not the answer. Even at 500 bushel per acre, it would take about 1.5 acre to produce enough corn ethanol for the average USA vehicle or about 260 M acres for the total existing fleet. We cannot spare than much good productive land.


And of course we don't need to convert the whole fleet to ethanol - we diversify our energy mix - alternatives, nuke, NG, cellulosic.


A good point Sulleny. We have a potentially huge Hydro energy surplus in our area and good quality winds good produce as much. Good productive land was not meant to feed gas guzzlers.


Corn ethanol is a joke. What about the other alternatives, like switchgrass, forest fodder, etc? Why subsidize companies like Monsanto with this corn ethanol crap? Don't they get enough money as it is?
(oh, yeah, sorry, they don't. how foolish of me...)


We should be careful with wide spread use of agro-fuels. The planet went form 1.235 Acres of farm land per inhabitants in 1950 to only 0.6178 Acres in 2010. That is very close to the 0.50 Acre (min) required to keep us from going hungry. That minimum level may be reached as early as 2020/2025.

Agro-fuel requires about 1.5 Acres of farm land per ICE vehicle. In other words, one ICE vehicle fed with agro-fuel could starve 3 people. This is a hard choice to make.

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