New Enzyme Increases Yields in the Biofuel Industry

New enzyme from Novozymes increases yields in ethanol production. A typical ethanol plant can gain at least $1 million per year.

Today, Novozymes, the world leader in the production of biofuel enzymes, announced the launch of a new enzyme that makes it possible to produce more ethanol from the same amount of corn.  The product, Spirizyme Excel, converts more starch in corn, wheat, and other feedstocks into sugars which can be fermented to ethanol, thereby allowing producers to increase yields by more than one percent.  Compared to other available solutions, a typical ethanol plant can gain $1 million or more per year using the enzyme.

”Novozymes is at the forefront of developing technologies that allow biofuel producers to make more from less,” says Poul Ruben Andersen, Biofuel Marketing Director of Novozymes. “Novozymes has achieved great breakthroughs in cellulosic biofuel recently, but this does not mean we have forgotten about corn ethanol. We have delivered market-leading innovation to this industry for a long time and we will continue to do so both for corn and cellulosic ethanol”.

Significant technology improvements
Unlike other starch-converting enzymes, Spirizyme Excel breaks down the most difficult starch fractions in the feedstock to maximize biofuel production yields.  The greater the starch conversion, the higher the output of ethanol. 

“The biofuel industry has experienced tremendous technology improvements over the past years,” says Poul Ruben Andersen. “Increased efficiency in crop production, ethanol conversion, and co-product use means that today ethanol made from corn can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70 percent compared to gasoline. “

Today, an average acre of corn will yield roughly 440 gallons of ethanol. Corn yields have improved by 70 percent per acre and ethanol plants can get 50 percent more ethanol out of the corn compared to 1977.

In 2009, the US produced 10.8 billion gallons of ethanol, which supported nearly 400,000 jobs, contributed $53.3 billion to GDP, and displaced the need for 364 million barrels of oil. US legislation mandates production of 12 billion gallons of ethanol in 2010.