On an otherwise flat Friday on the Danish bourse, Novozymes enjoyed a pleasant boost to its share price. The reason - a well-publicised visit the day before by US President George W. Bush to the company's US enzyme production and research facility in Franklinton, North Carolina as part of a road show promoting the administration's ambitious "20 in 10" initiative to reduce gasoline consumption in America by 20% over 10 years. Alternative fuels such as bioethanol are a major part of the plan to achieve this goal, and Novozymes is the world leader in industrial enzymes for bioethanol production.
The US already annually consumes about 7 billion gallons of bioethanol, but it is made using 1G enzyme technology from nutritional feedstuffs like corn. Increasing demand for corn from the energy sector is causing corn prices to rise, putting pressure on American livestock farmers, so President Bush wants to see accelerated research into 2G enzyme technology that will enable production of "cellulosic" ethanol from waste products such as wood chips and grasses.
2G bioethanol research is right in Novozymes' technological backyard, and America's educator-in-chief is well aware of the fact. According to North Carolina's Daily Dispatch, President Bush described Novozymes' research as cutting-edge and said: "They are developing technologies that will enable us to convert wood chips into fuels that will run our automobiles."
Following the visit, Novozymes President and CEO Steen Riisgaard commented: "We discussed with President Bush the importance of enzymes as a critical tool in making ethanol a commercially viable alternative energy that can make the world less dependent on oil. Using enzymes in the production of renewable fuels is the most sustainable way to cut production costs, decrease investment needs and reduce pollution."
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 variety 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.
The news of the presidential visit was reported by The Daily Dispatch (N.C.), Examiner.com, and on the Novozymes website.
: US Dept. of Energy to provide USD 385 m in funding for 6 cellulosic bioethanol plants over the next 4 years. Link > UPI