Novozymes enters development cooperation on biomass for biofuel in China

At the end of this week Novozymes expects to sign a research agreement with China Resources Alcohol Corporation (CRAC) on the development of biomass for biofuel in China .

From August Novozymes and China Resources Alcohol Corporation will begin a three-year cooperation agreement on research into processes for producing cellulose-based biomass for biofuel – so-called second-generation biofuel – in China.

In connection with the research cooperation with Novozymes, CRAC is setting up a pilot factory for the production of cellulose-ethanol in Zhaodong in Heilongjiang province, where there is already an ethanol factory, among other things for the biofuel market in China. Novozymes is also developing the necessary enzymes for the cellulose-ethanol process.

During the three-year development phase Novozymes and CRAC will form a joint research team, which will work at the pilot factory in Zhaodong. At a later stage other partners may be brought in to add additional competences to the project.

”I am very confident that with our knowledge of enzyme technology we can help CRAC to develop commercially viable processes for producing second-generation biofuel. At the same time, the project is important because the whole of this industry is still in its infancy. A project as comprehensive as this one will have good prospects of leading to new technologies within the whole area, which is engaged in converting cellulose-based biomass. I am sure that the cooperation between two such important players will lead to fruitful experiences within these critical production processes. And for Novozymes the cooperation will take us a good deal further in our general ‘biomass-to-ethanol’ research,” says Humphrey Lau, Marketing Director at Novozymes.

Biofuel in China

In the long term Novozymes expects China to become an important market with regard to biofuel. The consumption of fuel has increased significantly in recent years in line with the number of cars. And this has meant intense focus on sustainable energy, especially biofuel.

Novozymes envisages that the production of ethanol based on e.g. corn starch – first-generation biofuel – will not grow as strongly in China in the coming years because to a large extent China imports corn and other cereals as foodstuffs, but on the other hand it expects China to focus keenly on the development of second-generation biofuel, i.e. cellulose-based ethanol.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to be at the forefront of this development together with such a strong partner as CRAC in such an important market as China,” says Humphrey Lau.

About CRAC

CRAC is an important player in China within the production of alcohol and possesses important technologies within the production of biofuel. CRAC is a business area under China National Cereals, Oils & Foodstuff Corporation (COFCO), which is one of the largest companies in China and is involved in several different industries.