The state visit of Brazil's President Luiz Inácio Lula to Denmark, the first in history by a Brazilian president, has formed the backdrop to an agreement concluded between Novozymes and CTC (Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira), the Brazilian sugar cane industry’s technical center. Novozymes will supply enzyme technology for developing bioethanol production from "bagasse" - the fibrous plant waste left behind after sucrose is pressed from sugar cane.
Brazil is the world's largest producer of bioethanol, which is produced mainly by the fermentation of sucrose from sugar cane, in contrast to the US, Europe and China where bioethanol is produced largely from starch-containing crops such as corn and wheat using first-generation enzyme technology.
Bagasse contains at least a third of the chemical energy in sugar cane, and the aim is to access this in the form of cellulosic bioethanol produced using second-generation enzyme technology, an area where Novozymes is an acknowledged world leader. The development work will take place in a close collaboration between CTC and Novozymes in Brazil, aided by Novozymes’ R&D centers in the US and Denmark. Higher ethanol yields from sugar cane processing will improve both the process economy and energy balance, as well as reducing land use and emission of greenhouse gases.
Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgaard comments: "The research agreement is part of our efforts to identify economically profitable processes in the development of biofuels from plant waste and other biomass, and although it will be a few years before we know the extent to which the co-operation can be commercialised, we see considerable potential."
Located in Piracicaba in the state of Sao Paulo, CTC employs around 300 people, working to ensure Brazil’s position as the world leader in sugar and ethanol production. CTC is currently researching into sugar cane varieties that will produce the best crop yields, while possessing resistance to diseases and pests. The news was reported on Novozymes' website.
Headquartered in Bagsværd, a northern suburb of Copenhagen, Novozymes is the world’s largest and most diversified provider of industrial biotechnology, pioneering the replacement of chemicals with enzymes in a broad range of industries such as laundry detergents, animal feed and the biofuel industry. The company has topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the past five consecutive years.