Novozymes to supply GraalBio's 22 MMgy cellulosic ethanol plant

By Novozymes | May 23, 2012

Brazil-based bioenergy company GraalBio announced plans to start production in December 2013 of 82 million liters (22 million gallons) per year of cellulosic ethanol at a new factory in the Brazilian state of Alagoas. The plant will produce cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse and straw, and Novozymes will supply the necessary enzyme technology while Beta Renewables and Chemtex, both part of Italian chemical group Mossi & Ghisolfi (M&G), will provide other process technologies and engineering.

“This facility will mark a milestone in Brazil and in Latin America,” said Bernardo Gradin, CEO of GraalBio. “We are talking about a world-class project with innovative technology solutions that will help build a better and safer planet.”

“Today’s announcement from GraalBio is fantastic news for the ethanol industry and for Brazil and it clearly signals the continuation of the green path Brazil has taken on biofuels,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, executive vice president of Novozymes. “We are thrilled to supply the enzymes to the first advanced biofuels facility in Brazil and proud to help GraalBio succeed.

As the advanced biofuels industry in Brazil scales up over the coming years, demand for enzymes is expected to follow and Novozymes has therefore begun searching for locations for new enzyme manufacturing plants in Brazil.

“The advanced biofuels industry is taking off in Brazil and we remain confident that cellulosic ethanol will play a significant role in Brazil’s energy future,” said Nielsen. “To support this, we are looking to establish new enzyme production facilities in Brazil, dedicated to making enzymes for the biofuels industry. The location of new plants will, among other things, depend on where the industry is expected to scale up, where Novozymes’ partners are located, and where the best framework conditions exist.”

The demand for ethanol is growing both in Brazil and globally. Brazil expects to double its output of ethanol by 2020 to meet the growing demand from both domestic and export markets.

Global production capacity of advanced biofuels is expected to reach 57 million liters (15 million gallons) in 2012 and for 2014, 945 million liters (250 million gallons) are under planned construction. A recent study from Bloomberg new Energy Finance estimates that the advanced biofuels industry has the potential to create jobs, economic growth and energy security.

Looking at Brazil alone, the study shows that using less than 20 percent of the available agricultural residues (excluding energy crops) Brazil could produce 170 billion liters (45 billion gallons) of ethanol every year by 2030, replacing 83 percent of its annual gasoline consumption. Brazilian companies would be the major beneficiaries from a $94 billion domestic engineering, construction and feedstock market and the creation of 1.25 million jobs.