Cost of producing biofuels enzymes higher than assumed: researchers

February 27, 2012 |

In an update to our story The Enzyme Wars, a group of researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Joint BioEnergy Institute write: “the results from a recently-published paper on enzyme costs may help contextualizing the numbers offered by Novozymes (and any other enzyme companies).

In “The Challenge of Enzyme Cost in the Production of Lignocellulosic Biofuels,” the team constructed a techno-economic model for the production of fungal cellulases, and found that the cost of producing enzymes was much higher than that commonly assumed in the literature.

“For example,” the research team writes, “the cost contribution of enzymes to ethanol produced by the conversion of corn stover was found to be $0.68/gal if the sugars in the biomass could be converted at maximum theoretical yields, and $1.47/gal if the yields were based on saccharification and fermentation yields that have been previously reported in the scientific literature. The researchers performed a sensitivity analysis to study the effect of feedstock prices and fermentation times on the cost contribution of enzymes to ethanol price.

A summary of their research can be downloaded here.

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