Novozymes inaugurates largest enzyme plant dedicated to biofuels in United States

The new $USD 200 million facility is situated in the world’s largest market for biofuels.

30. May 2012
Advanced biofuels took a $200 million step forward on the march toward commercialization today with the inauguration of Novozymes’ enzyme plant in Blair, Nebraska. Creating 100 career positions and 400 construction jobs, the plant will specialize in making world-leading enzymes, a key technology component for both the existing and advanced biofuel markets.

“Advanced biofuels are taking off. With private investments like those demonstrated here, biofuel plants are opening around the world – and we're proud our Blair facility is prepared to supply enzymes to some of the first advanced biorefineries, as well as to the existing industry,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President of Novozymes.

As head of Novozymes’ Enzyme Business, Peder Holk Nielsen sees the new plant as a critical part of Novozymes global production chain, adding to its existing plants in China, Brazil, Denmark and the United States.

Biofuel reduces the price at the pump
“The United States is the world’s largest biofuel market today, and many of the new advanced biofuel plants will be located in the U.S. Midwest, one of the main reasons we chose Nebraska for our new site,” said Peder Holk Nielsen.

In 2012-13, several advanced biofuel plants will open around the world, including Shengquan in China, Beta Renewables in Italy, GraalBio in Brazil and Fiberight in the United States. Global production capacity of advanced biofuels is expected to reach 15 million gallons in 2012, and for 2014, 250 million gallons are under planned construction.

Today’s 10 percent blend of biofuels in U.S. gasoline reduces gas prices for consumers by about a dollar a gallon. With volatility in many key oil-producing regions and the cost of producing oil continuing to rise, biofuels can make an even bigger impact.

Peder Holk Nielsen added, “We also chose the U.S. because of the huge and untapped capacity in America. We believe domestically made fuels that reduce prices at the pump, create jobs and increase energy independence are exactly what consumers want – and biofuels are a core part of that mix.”

With the recent approval of 15 percent blends by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and increased production capacity coming online, the potential goes even further: Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that by 2030, advanced biofuels could displace up to 16 percent of U.S. gasoline consumption, generate $600 billion in revenues and create 1.4 million jobs.

Private investment, smart policy
The inauguration of Novozymes’ new Blair facility was celebrated with employees, customers, community leaders and government officials, including the governor of Nebraska, Dave Heineman, U.S. Department of Energy Senior Advisor Jason Walsh and Blair Mayor James Realph.

“This is a great day for Nebraska and the city of Blair,” said Governor Dave Heineman. “The grand opening of Novozymes is important for the ethanol industry and for energy independence. The Blair plant is the largest and most advanced enzyme plant in the country dedicated to biofuels. Nebraska is one of the top producers of ethanol in America, which makes our state the perfect site for this facility. I want to offer my congratulations to everyone who played a role in this project. This collaboration is another reason why Nebraska is the ideal place to live, to work, and to raise a family.”

“Advances in clean energy manufacturing are at the heart of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to America’s energy future," said DOE Senior Advisor Jason Walsh. "To continue this progress, Congress should extend the clean energy tax credits for renewable energy production and manufacturing that will create new jobs across the country and help grow American companies – from biofuel producers in Nebraska to solar manufacturers in Arizona and wind component companies in Texas.”

Novozymes leveraged its $200 million private investment in the Blair facility with a 48C manufacturing tax credit from the federal government, allowing the plant's technology to come online more quickly and push the industry further toward commercialization.

Peder Holk Nielsen concluded, “The U.S. is an example to the rest of the world. With strong and dedicated policy in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), America has shown how countries can create domestically made renewable fuel and add to their fuel mix, reducing prices for consumers. It is critical that smart and stable policies like the RFS remain intact.”
 
Novozymes has been operating in the U.S. since 1973.