US Energy Department tops up Novozymes' cash tank  

DOE approves final year funding of a 3-year Novozymes subcontract to develop more cost-efficient enzymes for bioethanol production

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has approved final year funding of a 3-year, USD 14.8 million subcontract with Novozymes to develop more cost-efficient cellulase enzymes for bioethanol production from plant waste material. One of the key applications of bioethanol is to replace the hazardous gasoline additive MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether), itself a replacement of the even more notorious tetra-ethyl and tetra-methyl lead. The purpose of these additives is to prevent pre-ignition or "knocking". Several US states are phasing out MTBE as oxygenate in gasoline for the transportation sector. In California alone, replacement of MTBE this year is projected to require 530 million gallons of ethanol.


Novozymes is currently the market leader in supplying enzymes for converting starch, mainly from corn, into fermentable sugars and hopes that new enzymes discovered during the research subcontract with the DOE can be turned into new products to bolster its market presence. The US fuel ethanol market is growing at a rapid rate of around 20% annually.


Novozymes currently sells more than 500 enzyme products in 120 countries. Since 1941 Novozymes has introduced almost every new industrial enzyme on the market, and is today the world's largest enzyme manufacturer.

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