Novozymes partners with Danish biorefinery project

Novozymes joins the consortium behind Maabjerg Energy Concept and takes a place on its board. The consortium will use Novozymes’ biotech expertise to design a new bioenergy production plant, generating biogas, advanced bioethanol, electricity and heat.

26. April 2012

​Novozymes and Maabjerg Energy Concept have entered into an agreement making Novozymes a partner in the consortium alongside national energy giant DONG Energy A/S and local utility companies Vestforsyning A/S, Struer Forsyning A/S and Nomi I/S.

“We invited Novozymes to join the consortium because we’re keen to have the company participate in the phase of the project leading up to the decision to press ahead with the plant,” says Jørgen Udby, CEO of Maabjerg Energy Concept. “Novozymes’ enzymes and biotech expertise are crucial for stable and profitable production of biogas and bioethanol from household waste and straw.”

What is new about Maabjerg Energy Concept is that it brings together a variety of different technologies for making use of waste products and biomass. Each year the plant will be able to produce around 94 million cubic meters of biogas, much of which can be upgraded to natural gas, and 73 million liters (19 million gallons) of bioethanol, as well as district heating for 20,000 households and electricity for several thousand homes.

DONG Energy believes that the arrival of Novozymes as partner has strengthened the consortium:

”Maabjerg Energy Concept is highly ambitious and innovative, and not just by Danish standards, and could create a brand new platform for Danish bioenergy,” says Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President for Generation at DONG Energy. ”Having Novozymes on board gives the project a real boost.”

The Maabjerg plant is located in western Denmark near the cities of Struer and Holstebro in Jutland.

Mapping potential
Biogas production is already being phased in, and it is the synergies from producing both biogas and bioethanol that make Maabjerg Energy Concept unique, even by international standards. This potential is also what attracted Novozymes to the consortium:

“We’ve joined the consortium to help perform a pilot study of the technical and financial possibilities,” says Poul Ruben Andersen, Vice President for Bioenergy at Novozymes. “Maabjerg Energy Concept is a concrete example of how waste biomass can replace fossil fuels in various ways, and the plant has the potential to become a true biorefinery, an important step along the road to a biobased economy. Plants like this could be built all over the world, because they can use many different types of waste as inputs and produce many different kinds of outputs.”

Toward a biobased economy
For Novozymes, participation in the consortium is a natural part of its work on technological development and collaboration with other parts of the value chain:

“At a time when we’re battling to create jobs and safeguard our economic future while also producing sustainable energy, Maabjerg Energy Concept is a beacon of light showing how we can transform our economy by complementing oil with waste such as straw and manure,” says Poul Ruben Andersen. “Novozymes has had this vision for many years, so it’s only natural for us to join the consortium and show that the technological capabilities are already there.”

Jørgen Udby shares this vision:

“The biobased economy is just around the corner. If we can show that the technology works here in Denmark, we can then market the concept around the world, and Novozymes will be a valuable partner in this work.”

Read more about Maabjerg Energy Concept here