Today, Novozymes formally marks the groundbreaking for a new production facility in Blair, Nebraska with a ceremony on site. The ceremony will be attended by approximately 200 guests including H.R.H. the Crown Prince and H.R.H. the Crown Princess of Denmark, the Governor of Nebraska and the Mayor of Blair.

The investment in the Nebraska facility is expected to be USD 160-200 million. This represents a doubling of the original planned investment in order for Novozymes to be able to meet market demand for enzymes for biofuel production in the coming years.

“We expect strong growth for first and second generation fuel ethanol, and we have to be ready to deliver the required quantities of enzymes to support such growth. We are therefore building a much larger production plant than initially announced”, says Lars Hansen, President, Novozymes North America.

100 green jobs

The new facility will be located on a 30-acre property at the Biorefinery Campus in Blair, Nebraska, about 25 miles north of Omaha. The plant is expected to be fully operational in approximately 2 years and Novozymes will hire at least 100 new employees for the facility.

“Novozymes is committed to the Blair community and we will be bringing more than 100 high-quality green jobs to the area. The facility will be staffed with professional personnel including engineers, managers, operators, mechanics and technicians”, says Fred Reikowsky, General Manager at the new Nebraska facility.

Second generation ready in 2010

The new facility in Nebraska will produce enzymes for the production of both first and second generation bioethanol. First generation bioethanol is produced from sugar or starchy raw materials such as wheat or corn. Second-generation bioethanol is produced from feedstock containing cellulosic biomass such as the stalks, leaves, and husks of corn plants, wood chips, and sawdust. Second-generation bioethanol may also be produced from energy crops such as switch grass.

In order to produce bioethanol, enzymes are needed to break down the starch or the cellulose in the raw materials. Novozymes is on track to deliver the first commercially viable enzymes for the production of second generation ethanol by 2010.