Novozymes (www.novozymes.com) is also working on enzymes for both first- (starch) and second- (cellulose) generation biofuels. “Enzymes for converting biomass into ethanol is a key research area for Novozymes,” says Steen Riisgaard, president and CEO.
The company has a number of collaborations on biofuels in the U.S., Europe, and around the world. For example, Novozymes recently signed an agreement with China Research Alcohol, under which, it will supply enzymes for a pilot plant that converts cellulose to biofuels. For China, the cellulose route will be the major one as starch crops are used for food.
Finally, Total (www.uk.total.com), a European provider of automotive and biofuel, wants to expand the use of renewable carbon and has set up a wide range of collaborations to this end, according to Veronique Hervouet, biomass and symfuel development manager.
For instance, the company is working with Neste Oil to look at the feasibility of building a unit at one of the Total refineries for the production of a high-performance, synthetic biodiesel from vegetable oil and animal fat. It is also looking at using high-pressure pyrolysis to upgrade wet biomass in order to produce a biocrude that could be used as feedstock in a biorefinery.