In California, Novozymes announced at Advanced Biofuels Markets the launch of a new game-changing enzyme product, Novozymes Avantec, which improves the efficiency and profitability of biofuel production. Avantec enables producers of corn ethanol to squeeze an extra 2.5% ethanol out of the corn, thereby improving their profit margins significantly.
“Corn is the single biggest input cost for an ethanol producer, and as prices have gone up, profits have disappeared,” says Novozymes Executive Vice President Peder Holk Nielsen. “Avantec is a vitamin shot for the industry. It allows you to save a lot of corn and still produce the same amount of ethanol. If you’re an ethanol producer in today’s market, that’s a real boost to your bottom-line.”
For a typical U.S. ethanol plant the savings are substantial. A plant uses around 900,000 tons of feed-grade corn per year to produce 100 million gallons of fuel ethanol, 300,000 tons of animal feed (DDGS) and 8,500 tons of corn oil. With Avantec, such a plant can save 22,500 tons of corn while maintaining the same ethanol output.
The US could save 3 million tons of corn
Corn is the key raw material in biofuel production in the U.S. and by far the biggest cost component for an ethanol plant. After the corn is harvested, the kernels are ground into corn meal, and water is added to make a mash. Enzymes convert the starch in the mash to sugar, which can then be fermented to ethanol. Avantec does this more efficiently than any other enzyme product on the market.
“Most U.S. ethanol plants convert 90-95% of the available starch, so there is significant potential for plant owners to increase output and maximize profits,” says Peder Holk Nielsen. “In fact, if all ethanol plants in the U.S. started using Avantec, they would save 3 million tons of corn.”
Avantec is the latest addition to Novozymes’ range of yield-enhancing enzyme products for the biofuel industry. Over the past five years, continuous improvements in enzyme technology from Novozymes have helped the industry increase starch conversion by 5%.
The U.S. is the biggest biofuel producer in the world, with corn ethanol production expected to reach 13.3 billion gallons in 2012.
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