Novozymes and Shengquan finalize cellulosic ethanol enzyme supply deal; Shengquan production begins next month
China-based Shengquan Group and Novozymes finalized an enzyme supply deal for the production of cellulosic ethanol. Shengquan starts production of cellulosic ethanol from its commercial-scale facility month; the production will be cost-competitive with conventional ethanol, as the cellulosic ethanol feedstock is a waste product from Shengquan’s current production, the companies said. Shengquan has invested $100 million in the facility.
Shengquan is a leading producer of furfural for resin production in the foundry industry. Furfural is produced from corncob xylose, with the cellulose from the corncob left behind as a waste product. Using Novozymes’ enzymes, Shengquan will now be able to convert the cellulose into higher-value sugars that can be fermented to ethanol. Shengquan will market the ethanol as an industrial solvent.
To continue to grow our country’s economy while at the same time lessen our dependency on natural resources and minimizing the environmental impact, we need to start thinking of waste as a valuable resource. Basically, we want and need to nurture a green and circular bioeconomy which is less dependent on fossil resources.—Yi Lin Tang, Chairman and President of Shengquan Group
The two companies signed the deal during China President Hu Jintao’s visit to Denmark, in the presence of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Wang Qishan, Vice-Premier of the People’s Republic of China, and Margrethe Vestager, Minister for Economic Affairs and the Interior, Denmark.
Shengquan Group is based in the city of Jinan in Shandong province, where Novozymes opened its new innovation and business center last week. Novozymes is one of the largest Danish investors in China, with a total investment of more than $500 million since 1994. In 1997, Novozymes became the first company globally to initiate biotech R&D in China. Today, the company has four production facilities in China, more than 1,100 employees and plans to invest further in the country in the coming years.
In China, Novozymes has also entered into partnerships with companies including COFCO and Sinopec to develop advanced biofuels and with Dacheng to develop bioglycol. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China could easily replace almost 40% of its annual gasoline consumption with advanced biofuels by 2030.