Novozymes launches Fermax to prevent foam development during cane ethanol production

November 9, 2016 |

In Denmark, Novozymes recently launched Fermax, an enzyme protease that prevents foam development during the sugarcane ethanol fermentation process, while delivering improved control and replacing chemicals. For an average size plant, trialing partners also experienced a cost reduction of up to 20 percent when using Fermax, as compared with use of chemicals.

Foam develops during the fermentation process as the yeast produces ethanol and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide creates foam, which can cause overflow of the fermentation tank and lead to production losses. Excessive foaming also forces plants to increase fermentation time and operate at lower capacity.

Ethanol producers typically use a combination of anti-foam and dispersant chemicals to reduce the formation of foam, but their performance varies according to process and feedstock conditions.

Fermax delivers predictability and consistency. It helps stabilize the fermentation process to remove the variation seen in current, chemical-based technologies.

Unlike traditional anti-foam products, Fermax does not remove the foam, but prevents it from forming in the first place. The enzyme changes the foam structure by breaking down the stabilizing proteins to make it lighter and less dense. This enables better fermentation control, which allows producers to operate their plants more efficiently.

Fermax can completely replace, or work in combination with, traditional dispersant chemicals to boost their activity. It can also save up to 70 percent of anti-foam chemicals.

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