Bioethanol produced from agricultural waste can now be produced at a price that makes it competitive with gasoline, reports national daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten. The world's largest manufacturer of bioethanol, US group Poet, which is collaborating with Denmark's Novozymes, has reduced production costs of bioethanol to USD 2.35 per gallon and expects to further reduce the costs over the next 12 months, bringing the price down to less than USD 2 per gallon. Production costs of gasoline are currently around USD 2.18 per gallon.
Peder Holk Nielsen, executive vice president of Novozymes, a world- leading producer of industrial enzymes, says: "Poet bases its production on corncobs (agrowaste from maize production – Ed), and the potential is large. It is possible to produce 5 billion gallons (19 billion litres) of bioethanol in the US solely based on corncobs."
Novozymes supplies the enzymes that are used for breaking down the feedstock. The price of the enzymes is steadily falling, which is one of the reasons why bioethanol made from agricultural waste – otherwise known as second generation or 2G bioethanol – can now be produced at a competitive price.
"It is also possible to make bioethanol from agricultural waste at the equivalent of USD 2 per gallon in Denmark. We just need to use straw from wheat as the feedstock. But it is essential for increased production of bioethanol in Demark that the government subsidy for burning straw also will apply to using straw for the production of bioethanol", says Peder Holk Nielsen.
Novozymes is currently concentrating its efforts on export markets, where developments in the US are particularly promising. The company has just announced that it will receive an Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit of USD 28.4m from the Obama Administration for the construction of its new enzyme manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska. The facility, which will produce enzymes for making advanced biofuels, will create more than 100 jobs. It is planned to be fully operational in mid-2012.