Novozymes utilizes wastewater to produce biogas

Novozymes and Novo Nordisk use wastewater from the factories in Kalundborg for a large scale production of biogas. The new biogas reactor produces as much electricity as 7 offshore wind turbines, reduces CO2 emissions and lowers energy costs.

​Novozymes and Novo Nordisk have in collaboration installed a 36 meter tall, high-performance biogas reactor. The new biogas reactor utilizes wastewater from both Novo Nordisk and Novozymes’ large production in Kalundborg for an efficient production of biogas.

Biogas aids reduction of CO2
There are two specific reasons for Novozymes’ investment in the new biogas reactor.

“Firstly, we can reduce CO2 emissions from our production. This enables us to reduce our CO2 emission with 21,000 tons annually, equivalent to emissions from 12,000 households or 1000 trucks each driving a 1000 kilometers,” explains Line Sandberg, Vice President in Novozymes’ Danish production.

The biogas reactor is one of the most efficient worldwide and will produce both electricity and heat. So efficient in fact that it can produce 47,000 MWh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to the electricity production of 7 offshore wind turbines or the electricity consumption of 12,000 households a year.

“In Novozymes, we have a long-term global strategy for the reduction of CO2 emissions from our production. Despite increasing productivity, the CO2 footprint has since 2005 been reduced by more than 175,000 tons globally – the equivalent of removing more than 60,000 cars off the roads. The biogas reactor is a natural part of this work,” says Line Sandberg.

An investment in the future
Novozymes has a large scale production in Kalundborg with approximately 600 employees. Line Sandberg emphasizes that the second reason for the investment in the biogas reactor relates to the future. In recent years, Novozymes has worked hard to make its production even more cost-efficient and competitive.

With a total investment of an amount in the three-digit million range in DKK, the new biogas reactor is a step in this direction.

“The biogas reactor is an investment in lower energy costs. Our Danish production reaches the whole world so the energy costs are important to us. This way, the biogas reactor is an important investment in making Novozymes’ Danish production even more competitive,” explains Line Sandberg. 

Collaboration that matters
Both Novozymes and Novo Nordisk have an independent production next to each other in Kalundborg. However, the two companies share several things, such as the purchase of energy and the treatment of wastewater. Both Novo Nordisk and Novozymes have invested in the establishment of the biogas reactor, but Novozymes owns and operates it as well as the large plant for water purification that is a part of the reactor. 

The two companies are also part of the so-called industrial Symbiosis where local companies take advantage of each other’s waste streams. This collaboration flourishes with the establishment of the biogas production.

“It is our vision in Novozymes to create a commercial success while promoting a sustainable environment and working to change the world. We are engaged in finding ways to do things differently so that the environment and the community around us can benefit from our solutions – now and in the long run. The biogas reactor is a great example of this,” says Line Sandberg.

There will be an official inauguration of the new biogas reactor on June 7th in Kalundborg. On this day, invited guests and representatives from Novozymes and Novo Nordisk can celebrate that the biogas reactor is ready for use. Mayor Martin Damm, Kalundborg Municipality, will deliver the inauguration speech. 

Novozymes utilizes wastewater to produce biogas, watch the video here.