DEDINI S/A INDÚSTRIAS DE BASE, well known for its innovation in the sugar-ethanol market and NOVOZYMES A/S, a world leader in bioinnovation, signed a memorandum of understanding aiming at continuing to develop a technological route to produce cellulosic ethanol in Brazil.

Dedini and Novozymes expect to benefit from the commercial potential of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil due to the large availability of bagasse. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugarcane, crushing more than 600 million tons per year, from which 27 billion liters (7.1 billion gallons) of ethanol is currently produced.

Cellulosic ethanol – one step further
Novozymes, the world leader in biofuel enzymes, recently introduced the first commercially viable enzymes for production of cellulosic ethanol. The enzymes break down agricultural waste such as corn stover, wheat straw, wood chips and bagasse, enabling fermentation to ethanol. Dedini, the world leader in supplying equipment and complete plants to the sugar-ethanol market, developed a chemical process with diluted acid and a lignin solvent.

The objective of this partnership is to develop a process using the enzymatic hydrolysis route from sugarcane residues. This would result in the implementation of a demonstration plant, integrated into sugarcane mill refineries.

To José Luiz Olivério, Vice President of Technology and Development from Dedini, this is a major step in making cellulosic ethanol a reality. “We already had great advancements with the DHR (Dedini’s Rapid Hydrolysis) – a technology that used the diluted acid process. For two years, Dedini has searched for partners to enable a solution on an industrial scale, based on the combination of experiences and technologies which would result in the sustainable production of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil,” says Olivério. “The partnership with Novozymes will contribute significantly to reaching this objective,” he completes.

Brazil has been a world leader in the use of ethanol since the mid-1970s due to an abundance of sugarcane and the introduction of a national program after the first global oil crisis. Today, ethanol is predominant in Brazil’s transportation fuels market, used as an E100 (100% ethanol) and E25 blend, and the government has also mandated 20 to 25 percent ethanol blending in all gasoline. 90 percent of all new light vehicles sold in the country are flex-fuel, allowing them to run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline.

“Considering the demand for ethanol in Brazil and the amount of bagasse available, there is considerable opportunity for further growth in this market. The partnership with Dedini, the largest engineering player in the sugarcane industry in Brazil, will help us to unlock this potential,” says Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard.