Novozymes has entered into a collaboration agreement with Brazil’s largest sugarcane crusher, Raízen Energia S/A (the $12-billion joint venture between Shell and Cosan founded in 2011). (Earlier post.) As part of the agreement, Novozymes will supply enzyme technology to Raízen’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Brazil, scheduled to be operational by end 2014.
The plant will be a bolt-on facility to Raízen’s Costa Pinto sugarcane mill in the state of São Paulo and will have the capacity to produce 40 million liters (10.5 million gallons US) of cellulosic ethanol a year from sugarcane bagasse and straw. The agreement also provides for Novozymes to supply enzyme technology to Raízen’s second cellulosic ethanol plant, should such a plant be constructed.
To support Raízen in its efforts to advance cellulosic ethanol, Novozymes will develop enzyme technology optimized for Raízen’s process. Furthermore, Novozymes intends to establish new enzyme-manufacturing capacity in Brazil.
The exact size, location and investment budget for this enzyme-manufacturing facility are not yet determined and will depend on the level of estimated demand for enzyme technology in Brazil.
Currently, Raízen produces 2 billion liters (528 million gallons US) of ethanol from sugarcane per year from a network of 24 sugarcane mills in Brazil.
This first plant developed by one of the world’s largest sugarcane ethanol producers marks an important step in the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil.—Thomas Videbæk, Novozymes’ Executive Vice President of Business Development