New technology allows more ethanol to be squeezed from corn

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Industrial enzymes manufacturer Novozymes A/S today launched a new technology that it says will allow renewable fuel producers to squeeze more ethanol out of corn.

The technology produced by Novozymes will allow producers to increase their ethanol yield from corn by up to 5 percent, the company said today. It will enable ethanol producers to use less energy, according to Novozymes, the largest provider of enzymes to the U.S. biofuels industry.

“It allows our customers to make more from less and substantially improve their profit margins,” said Andrew Fordyce, Novozymes’ executive vice president for business operations.

Ethanol producers use enzymes to help break down corn into its component sugars, which can then be fermented and converted into alcohol-based fuel. The new technology announced today essentially combines three of Novozymes’ enzymes: Spirizyme Achieve, Olexa and Avantec.

Novozymes estimates that a typical U.S. ethanol plant uses about 36 million bushels of corn a year to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol, as well as other byproducts that can be converted into animal feed and other commercial goods. The new enzyme combination will allow a typical plant to use 1.8 million fewer bushels of corn a year to produce the same amount of ethanol and save plants up to $5 million a year, the company said.