Novozymes: enzyme cost drops to 50 cents

By Luke Geiver
Posted February 16, 2010, at 8:20 a.m. CST

Novozymes Inc. unveiled a new commercial grade enzyme capable of producing cellulosic ethanol during the 15th annual National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 15-17. The Cellic (CTec2) enzyme, when combined with the HTec2, will reduce current enzyme costs for cellulosic production down to approximately 50 cents per gallon according to Novozymes. "We have been working on this for the past 10 years and promised our customers and the market to be ready by 2010," said Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard. "I am extremely pleased to announce that we are ready. The enzymes are ready. Biofuel producers now have a critical component to turn agricultural waste into a competitive alternative to gasoline."

A combination of existing enzyme components, the new CTec2 is essentially a cocktail mix, drawing from those pre-existing enzyme components according to Poul Ruben Andersen, global marketing director for Novozymes. "This represents a combination of efforts over the last 10 years with our research partners," Andersen said. The partners helping to accelerate the projects development includes among others: Greenfield Ethanol Inc., Inbicon, Lignol Energy Corp., Poet LLC and ICM Inc. According to Novozymes, the final product works on several feedstock types including corn cobs and stalks, wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse and wood chips.

The CTec2 has already been tested at Novozymes Denmark facility along with other pilot and demonstration cellulosic plants around the world. During the 2010 Washington Auto Show, Novozymes put the new enzyme to the test. Partnered with Fiberight LLC., the two produced a waste paper fuel made from government waste products. Novozymes now feels the new enzyme will make cellulosic ethanol more cost efficient. "Cellulosic ethanol will be cheaper", said Riisgaard. "Our partners expect production costs to fall below $2 per gallon once their first commercial scale plants are fully operational, and the cost will continue to drop in the future."