Novozymes: Biofuels Digest’s 2015 5-Minute Guide

February 12, 2015 |

Novozymes is “the world leader in bioinnovation”. The company’s business is industrial enzymes, microorganisms, and biopharmaceutical ingredients. Novozymes’ biological solutions help companies make more from less, save energy and raw materials, and reduce waste. The result is higher quality, lower costs, lower CO2 emissions, better lives and a better environment.

With over 700 products used in 130 countries, Novozymes’ bioinnovations improve industrial performance and safeguard the world’s resources by offering superior and sustainable solutions for tomorrow’s ever-changing marketplace. In 2014, Novozymes’ products globally reduced CO2 emissions by 60 million tons.

Novozymes offers “the leading technology platform for biofuel production”, and is the leading enzyme provider for ethanol enzymes in all regions where they operate.


50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy: #4, 2014/15

30 Hottest Companies in Renewable Chemicals: #11, 2014/15

Biofuels Digest Awards

2012 Best Project (Fermentation) Award: Beta Renewables — Crescentino, Italy

Major Investors

Novozymes A/S has two share classes: A shares and B shares. The B shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Copenhagen under ticker code NZYM B and ID code/ISIN DK0010272129.


Novozymes’ core technology for the biofuels industry is enzymes that break down different types of feedstock into fermentable sugars for conversion into ethanol. Within this area, Novozymes develops solutions for two distinct types of ethanol technology: cellulosic ethanol and starch-based ethanol.  The company also produces enzymes that enable biodiesel production from low-quality waste greases.

Novozymes cellulosic ethanol work is the largest endeavor the company has ever undertaken, with over 100 scientists dedicated to the effort. Not only is Novozymes’ developing and offering the leading enzyme solutions for cellulosic ethanol technology, but the company has also expanded its research focus into optimizing the pretreatment, hydrolysis and fermentation process steps.

As the world leader in bioinnovation, Novozymes produces enzymes that optimize the conversion of grains such as corn, barley, wheat and other starch raw materials into ethanol. The enzymes enable higher yields, faster throughput and lower processing costs. Novozymes’ tailored solutions – including custom enzyme blends – match the specific needs of customers’ processes for liquefaction, saccharification, fermentation enhancement, and viscosity reduction.


Novozymes’ enzyme solutions provide robust performance on a wide variety of feedstocks. Cellulosic ethanol employs biomass feedstocks such as corn stover, wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse, woody residues, switchgrass, etc. For starch-based ethanol, the primary feedstocks are corn, barley, wheat, sugarcane, etc.


The company’s enzyme solutions break down feedstock, such as corn and lignocellulosic material into sugars that can be used to produce: ethanol, biobutanol, renewable jet fuel, organic acids, biochemicals and bioplastics. These enzyme solutions include the following product families: Liquozyme, Spirizyme, Viscozyme, Provia, Avantec, Olexa and Cellic®. The new biodiesel enzyme product is called Eversa.

Offtake partners

Some of the company’s partners in cellulosic ethanol include: Beta Renewables, Raízen, POET, ICM, GreenField Ethanol, Fiberight, Lignol, CTC, Petrobras, Inbicon, M&G, COFCO and Sinopec.

Past Milestones

In January 2015, Novozymes and Beta Renewables said that they were working to establish a 75 million liter per year cellulosic ethanol plant in Punjab using 3 million metric tons of paddy straw as feedstock. The $153.7 million plant could lead the way for $1 billion in investment of five other plants in the state if successful, the companies said at the time.

In December 2014, Novozymes announced the launch of Novozymes Eversa, the first commercially available enzymatic solution to make biodiesel from waste oils. The enzymatic process converts used cooking oil or other lower grade oils into biodiesel. Biodiesel producers can thereby reduce their raw material costs. The resulting biodiesel is sold to the same trade specification as biodiesel created through traditional chemical processing.

In November 2014, Brooke Renewables and Hock Lee Group presented a Letter of Intent to the Sarawak State Government marking their intention to invest in the 2G Bioethanol and Bio chemical plant as the first phase of the $1B, 5-year Sarawak Biomass Hub project. The tri-party LOI signed is for the use of Beta Renewables’ Biomass Conversion Technology and Novozymes’ Exclusive Enzymes Solutions in the 1st 2G Bioethanol and Biochemical plant in Brooke Renewables’ proposed Sarawak Biomass Hub project. The LOI strengthens the execution of the proposed Biomass Hub project in Sarawak, as both foreign partners are global leaders that have proven commercial-scale facilities. Beta Renewables are owners for the world’s first commercial scale 2G Bioethanol Plant in Italy and Novozymes is the world’s largest enzyme solutions provider.

In November 2014, researchers at Novozymes and Roskilde University said that an artificial enzyme they have jointly developed is almost twice as effective as the enzymes found in nature being used to create cellulosic ethanol. Enzymes for cellulosic ethanol are typically very expensive but doubling the production capacity could help to bring down the cost of production significantly.

In February 2014, Novozymes and Monsanto announced the completed closing of the The BioAg Alliance, as originally announced on December 10, 2013. Both companies will now focus on implementing the long-term strategic alliance. The BioAg Alliance is unique in the industry, bringing together Novozymes’ commercial BioAg operations and capabilities within microbial discovery, development and production with Monsanto’s microbial discovery, advanced biology, field testing and commercial capabilities.

In September 2013, Novozymes announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Brazil’s largest sugarcane crusher, Raízen Energia S/A. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will supply enzyme technology to Raízen’s first 40 million liter commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Brazil. The agreement also provides for Novozymes to supply enzyme technology to Raízen’s second cellulosic ethanol plant, should such a plant be constructed.

In June 2013, Novozymes announced the launch of new enzyme technology that can increase ethanol yield from corn by up to 5%. The technology also increases corn oil extraction by 13%, while saving 8% energy. The efficiency improvements can be achieved when two new enzymes, Spirizyme Achieve and Olexa, are used together with another Novozymes enzyme, Avantec. Novozymes noted that the technology boosts average yields from 2.77 gallons per bushel to 2.92. By using Avantec, Olexa and Spirizyme Achieve, a standard 100 million gallon ethanol plant would save up to 1.8 million bushels (45,000 tons) of corn while maintaining the same ethanol output, and generating up to $5 million in additional profit. Despite the dip in corn usage, overall corn oil extraction would increase by 7% to 9000 tons for a standard plant, while DDGS production would dip to 282,000 tons based on lower corn inputs.

In October 2012, Novozymes and Beta Renewables, a global leader in cellulosic biofuels and part of Gruppo Mossi & Ghisolfi, announced an agreement to jointly market, demonstrate and guarantee cellulosic biofuel solutions. As part of the agreement, Novozymes will acquire a 10% share in Beta Renewables, paying approximately $115 million cash for the equity, marketing fees, other intellectual property rights and milestone payments.

Future Milestones

1) Deliver higher-performing cellulosic enzyme solutions to help ethanol plants make cellulosic ethanol cost competitive with starch based ethanol production; working with our partners in demonstrating their cellulosic ethanol technology is commercially viable.

2) Deliver the first million gallons of commercially-viable cellulosic ethanol to the world through our enzyme development and partnership efforts.

Business Model

Novozymes supplies enzymes to the biofuel industry and is the global market leader. The company provides the ethanol industry with the best use cost via higher performing enzymes that deliver greater yields and efficiencies to producer’s operations as well outstanding customer service. Novozymes spends 13-14 percent of its annual revenue on research and development of new innovative solutions for our customers and the industry.

For cellulosic ethanol, Novozymes has forged partnerships with the leading technology developers in the industry in order to help enable commercialization. “We are well positioned to continue our legacy of being the leading enzyme supplier to this industry through our unmatched product performance and customer value offering,” the company adds.

Competitive Edge

Novozymes is the leader in starch based ethanol and is positioned to also be the industry leader for cellulosic based ethanol. Novozymes’ strengths are its heavy investment in R&D, high-performing enzymes and superior technical services team.

Research, or Manufacturing Partnerships or Alliances

Novozymes partners with many of the industry leaders, such as Beta Renewables, POET, GreenField, ICM, Inbicon, Raizen, GranBio, COFCO and Sinopec, to optimize their technology for ethanol production.


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