Two leading players within the growing biofuels industry, Broin and Novozymes, today announced a collaboration to take the next steps needed to bring cost-effective ethanol derived from corn stover to market. The collaboration is an extension of the close partnership between the two companies and is a great opportunity for Novozymes to put its unique biotechnology platform at work and for Broin to aim at a fast commercialization.
“The collaboration between Broin and Novozymes to commercialize ethanol from corn stover is a continuation of a tremendous partnership,” Jeff Broin, CEO of Broin said. “Our previous collaboration to create raw starch hydrolyzing enzymes for our BPX™ process was highly successful. The BPX™ process, when combined with Broin’s fractionation technology (BFrac™), will provide the foundation for the biorefinery of the future. I am extremely optimistic about the future of biofuels and our ability to continue developing the technology to make cellulose to ethanol conversion a reality in the next 4-6 years.”
“Broin and Novozymes have a proven track record of successful collaboration to bring new technology to commercialization, and we are pleased to continue and build further on our solid partnership with Broin within the field of biofuels,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, Executive Vice President, Business Operations of Novozymes. “I am confident that combining our capabilities within biotechnology with Broin’s capabilities within biofuels will significantly contribute to the development of commercially viable processes for producing second-generation biofuels. This is a further demonstration of Novozymes’ commitment to continue to support the biofuels industry by continuing to invest R&D in the development of production processes for biofuels made from renewable raw materials.”
In 2004, Broin and Novozymes partnered in the development of a new enzyme for Broin’s BPX™ technology, a patent-pending raw starch hydrolysis process that converts starch to sugar, which then ferments to ethanol without heat. The innovative technology was taken to commercial-scale production after four years of research and development and eliminates the cooking process that has been part of ethanol production for hundreds of years. The results include higher ethanol yields, increased nutrient quality and flowability in distillers dry grain soluble (DDGS), reduction in plant emissions and reduced energy costs by up to 15 percent. During the development phase, Broin obtained from Novozymes a sample of acid fungal amylase enzyme that ultimately became specific to the BPX™ process.
In 2003, Broin and the U.S. Department of Energy jointly funded a five-year research initiative to develop and improve dry mill fractionation with the assistance of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and South Dakota State University. The project provided for the commercialization of Broin’s fractionation technology, or “BFrac™”, which together with BPX™, creates the foundation for biorefining in the future. BFrac™ creates additional value-added products and streams – including fiber that can be used in the production of cellulosic ethanol.
In January 2001, supported by funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Novozymes and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) entered into a collaborative research subcontract totaling 14.8 million USD over three years, with a one-year extension worth 2.3 million USD granted in April 2004. The project sought to dramatically cut the cost of converting cellulosic biomass from corn stover into sugars for the production of fuel ethanol and other valuable products. Thanks to this extensive R&D effort, enzymes should not anymore be seen as the major barrier to a cost efficient conversion of biomass. Novozymes research has delivered improved performance which translates into lower costs.
Further improvements still need to be achieved in order to bring biomass into the commercial arena. Novozymes intends to do so by using its comprehensive range of proprietary biotech tools to identify new enzymes, engineer and boost catalytic activity and further increase production yield. Options for integration of lignocellulose conversion into existing processes will also provide opportunities for process improvement leading to additional cost reduction.
Broin is a highly specialized and integrated technology development, production, and marketing company with more than 20 years in the biorefining industry. The company has a history of advanced ethanol and biorefining process development and is widely recognized for its ability to successfully commercialize innovative bio-technologies.
As the largest dry mill ethanol producer in the United States, Broin currently manages 18 plants in five states with four more projects under construction. The company is committed to enhancing opportunities for rural America, as currently more than 9,000 farm families have invested in Broin projects to date.
Novozymes is the leader in industrial biotechnology and has been instrumental in revolutionizing the production of transportation fuel through application of its enzyme technology for ethanol from corn starch. Going forward, Novozymes is committed to supporting the world with sustainable, biological solutions that create the necessary balance between better business, a cleaner environment and better lives. To this end, Novozymes enzyme technology is poised to play a key role in the conversion of biomass-to-ethanol for development of second-generation, clean-burning biofuel alternatives.