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DuPont Industrial Biosciences awarded grant for high-efficiency biogas enzyme production

DuPont Industrial Biosciences has been awarded a grant from the European Commission to demonstrate high-efficiency enzyme production to increase biogas yields as part of the DEMETER project, funded from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program. Enzyme technology has been proven to improve biogas yields and process robustness, ultimately increasing customers’ revenue and profitability while increasing offerings in renewable energy.

The objective of DEMETER (Demonstrating More Efficient Enzyme Production To Increase Biogas Yields) is to increase the yield of this industrial fermentation process by at least 20%; improve the product recovery process by 40%; and reduce overall product cost by at least 15% while increasing the productivity of the process. In addition, DEMETER will demonstrate the efficacy of the enzyme in 8 field trials in biogas plants throughout Europe.

DEMETER includes an entire value chain of biogas experts including: DuPont (enzymes); Miavit (biogas ingredients distributor); BioBase Europe (pilot plant); OWS (anaerobic digester expertise); DBFZ (biogas research centre); Ciaotech (economic and environmental evaluation); and Biomoer (biogas farm). The project is expected to be completed over the next three years.

DEMETER is following a multi-scale approach. First, the enzyme productivity will be improved on lab- and small pilot-scale, while obtaining insights for further scale-up. In parallel, the effect of enzymes on biogas yield will be quantified, using 5 commonly used biomass substrates.

The improved fermentation and downstream process will be scaled up and demonstrated in a 15,000 L pilot plant. Finally, the improvement of the biogas production process due to the use of the enzyme will be demonstrated in practice in the 8 field trials. The results of these field trials will be fed back to further improve the production process and its yield.

DuPont is proud to be a partner in project DEMETER and to apply our decades of experience in the global industrial enzyme business to supporting the continued growth of the biogas sector in the European Union and around the world. Ultimately, this project will demonstrate to biomethane producers the power of enzymes to improve biogas yields and process robustness, ultimately increasing their revenue and profitability.

—Conrad Burke, global marketing director

DuPont will use the grant to improve and scale-up the enzyme-producing fermentation process to reach a cost reduction of at least 15% and to demonstrate the efficiency of the enzymes in biogas field trials in Europe. Methane biogas is primarily used to generate electricity or is compressed and inserted into the pipeline gas grid.

DuPont (via Genencor) has recently developed a new enzyme product, derived from Myceliophthora thermophila C1, that in recent field trials has shown a promising 10% cost-reduction in the production of biogas from organic waste.

In November 2016, DuPont Industrial Biosciences and MIAVIT GmbH announced a supply agreement through which DuPont will supply its FIBREZYME G4 enzyme biotechnology to MIAVIT for inclusion in MiaMethan ProCut, a new biogas ingredient for the agricultural sector sold by MIAVIT. (Earlier post.)


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