Using the whole plant

What is cellulosic ethanol?

Bioethanol fuel comes from a plant’s sugar-rich products – like sugar cane or corn. Cellulosic ethanol is made from what’s left, the lignocellulosic biomass.

Lignocellulose can come from biomass such as wheat straw, corn stover, municipal waste, or energy crops. First, these by-products are broken down into a pulp. Enzymes are then added, turning cellulose in the biomass into sugar which can then be fermented into cellulosic ethanol. This conversion process is called lignocellulosic hydrolysis.

Cellulosic ethanol production is immensely cost-effective and environmentally-friendly, but not as efficient as traditional corn-based ethanol production because it requires more processing to make sugars available to be concentrated into ethanol fuel. Enzymes like Novozymes Cellic® work to optimise the lignocellulosic hydrolysis process to make cellulosic ethanol plants more efficient.

How do enzymes help?

In cellulosic ethanol production, enzymes are required to convert biomass into cellulosic ethanol when using a biochemical conversion process called lignocellulosic hydrolysis.

Novozymes Cellic® helps secure the lowest cost of producing cellulosic ethanol by unlocking new ways to optimize a plant’s conversion process. It’s a commercially viable, cost-effective enzyme solution that is proven to hydrolyze multiple types of feedstocks.

From the experts

Cellulosic ethanol: An important part of the future energy mix

The latest IEA World Energy Outlook forecasts a significant increase in cellulosic ethanol production over the next five years. IEA predicts conventional biofuel production will increase by more than 16% from 2016 levels to reach 159 billion liters by 2022, while production of advanced biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol is expected to increase sevenfold by 2022.

Optimize your plant’s conversion process

Learn more about Cellic®

With Novozymes Cellic®, you can optimize your pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation processes and secure the lowest total cost of producing cellulosic ethanol for your plant.


  • Reduction in total ethanol fuel production costs
  • Great process and substrate versatility
  • Increase in biomass-to-sugar conversion
  • Decrease in enzyme dosing
  • Increase in total solids loading
  • Reduction in hydrolysis time
  • Reduction in severity of pre-treatment


Learn more

From waste to fuel

The world's first cellulosic ethanol plant

The world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant was created in partnership with Novozymes in Crescentino, Italy.