Biotechnology to expand use of biomass in China
Novozymes and Dacheng Group agree to develop technologies to produce household cleaning products and plastics from plants.
Novozymes, a global bioinnovation company based in Denmark, and Dacheng Group, a major starch processing company based in China, announces an agreement to make plastics from agricultural waste. The two companies have agreed to expand their cooperation in developing biochemicals derived from biomass and to promote the industrialization of plant-based glycol. Glycols are biochemicals used in household cleaning products, cosmetics, and used as building blocks for making polyesters and plastics.
“This collaboration with Dacheng Group is another important step toward the future biobased society,”said Steen Riisgaard, CEO and President of Novozymes A/S. “Bio-technology will open the pathway to a biobased society in which renewable agricultural residues can be converted into biochemicals and nearly substitute the role that petrochemical industries have been playing since the industrial revolution.”
This agreement is one in a range of similar partnerships between Novozymes and major players on the market for chemicals. Through the recent years, Novozymes has partnered with global companies (e.g.: Braskem in Brazil and Cargill in the United States) to develop new technologies to derive biochemicals that can replace traditional petrochemcials that can be used in a wide range of products like plastic and diapers.
Under the agreement, Novozymes will provide Dacheng Group with knowledge and the enzymes for converting biomass like corn stover, wheat and rice straw into sugar. Dacheng Group will then convert the sugar into glycol. Dacheng Group has the first commercialized facility in the world to mass produce plant-based glycols. The facility, located in northeastern China, is expected to produce plant-based biochemicals within a few years.
“Dacheng and Novozymes have complementary technological advantages in biomass-to-chemical industry and share the vision for the future that the renewable such as agricultural and forestry residues or even urban organic garbage should be important energy and material sources,” said Xu Zhouwen, Chairman of Dacheng Group.
China currently produces 700 million tons of agricultural waste per year, including: corn and wheat stovers, rice straws, and others. Much of this waste is burned directly in farm fields, which can cause serious air pollution, rather than using this waste to develop new technologies and new sources of clean energy. Moreover, the development of plant-based glycols could generate new income sources for China’s farmers and lessen China’s dependence on imported crude oil.