Cheaper production of bioethanol - also in Europe

Small Danish firm is developing new cheaper production method

A small Danish firm, Biogasol, is working to develop a new cheaper production method of bioethanol, produced from European raw materials such as wheat-straw.  Results so far are promising enough to attract strong financial backing.
Major players in Denmark such as DONG (energy) and Bankinvest (banking) have invested in Biogasol, the small company that currently has 10 employees and is based in the Technical University of Denmark. This was first announced in an article in the Danish financial paper Børsen on February 27.

Novozymes is an important supplier and partner in the project. 

At present the development work is taking place in laboratories at Biocentrum-DTU in Lyngby, but soon the technology is to be tested at a new pilot plant costing DKK 25 million. The aim is to have a large demonstration plant worth around DKK 100 million ready in 2008.

The Danish project, which in many ways is similar to Novozymes' collaboration with the American NREL, is different in that it covers the whole process, from straw to ethanol and on to biogas production. It is probably this that allows Biogasol to talk about the possibility of producing bioethanol at a cost of just DKK 2-3 per litre (compared to DKK 3.75 or 4.10 today). This estimate is solely Biogasol's.

Novozymes involved in the production
In order to manufacture the fuel, enzymes need to be used, and it is here that Novozymes comes into the picture. We are an important cooperation partner for Biogasol. The cooperation involves Novozymes collaborating in the research project, from which Biogasol gains input for its technology. The project is called Maxifuel and is supported by public research funding from the Energy Research programme under the Danish Energy Authority. The name of the project reflects the aim: to maximise the yield of fuel from agricultural waste products.

And if Biogasol's technology becomes a big success, it will mean more customers for Novozymes given that the enzymes are an important part of the production. Nevertheless, Novozymes has said no to being a co-owner because the product is outside our core competences.