Novozymes and Terranol to market advanced biofuel yeast
August 28, 2012, Copenhagen, DK – Novozymes and Terranol announced an agreement that will ensure the final optimization of the Terranol C5 yeast strain and give Novozymes the rights to register and market Terranol’s C5 yeast technology.
C5 yeast is an essential component in the production of cellulosic ethanol, and the partnership will allow Novozymes to speed up global rollout of Terranol’s yeast to customers in the cellulosic ethanol industry. Wide availability of a high-performing and cost-efficient yeast will enable the nascent industry to fast-track the transition from today’s demonstration-scale production to large-scale commercialization.
“We want to make sure there are no biotech-related hurdles to the creation of a cellulosic ethanol industry,” says Poul Ruben Andersen, Vice President Bioenergy at Novozymes. “Terranol’s C5 yeast is currently one of the best strains developed, and by getting it registered and marketed around the world, we can help make it available to the biofuel industry. This will provide a higher degree of certainty in the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol.”
“With our combined R&D capabilities we can ensure the final optimization of the strain in order to achieve maximum economic performance for our cellulosic ethanol customers,” says Claus Crone Fuglsang, Vice President R&D at Novozymes.
Advanced biofuels are approaching large-scale commercialization, but various steps in the production process can still be improved to make production cheaper and more efficient. When producing cellulosic ethanol, enzymes convert cellulose and hemicellulose in biomass such as corn stover and wheat straw to sugars, which are then fermented into ethanol. To obtain optimal yields it is important to ferment not only the easily accessible C6 sugars (glucose), but also the more difficult C5 sugars (xylose and arabinose).
“A yeast that ferments C5 sugars is essential to cost-efficient production of cellulosic ethanol,” says Birgitte Rønnow, CEO of Terranol. “Our C5 yeast is among the furthest developed in the industry and by leveraging Novozymes’ global marketing muscle we can speed up its commercialization.”