Genencor International, Inc., a division of Danisco A/S, applauds U.S. President George W. Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative and his call to develop new biorefineries using renewable resources like corn stalks and perennial prairie grass.
Genencor, a global producer of enzymes for the ethanol industry, has been instrumental in developing new technologies to convert biomass to ethanol, which could ultimately lead to reduced dependence on foreign oil and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Since 2000, Genencor scientists have worked with the U.S. Department of Energy through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to reduce the costs of enzymes to enable a commercially viable process of using cellulosic biomass (such as the non-food parts of grain and other plant material) to make ethanol.
Currently, ethanol is made in the U.S. from starch derived mostly from corn. One of the technical hurdles in converting cellulose to ethanol is enzyme cost and efficiency. In its four-year contract with NREL, Genencor delivered a 30-fold improvement in the cost of enzymes.
This technical advance is an important step in the development of sustainable biorefineries to take their place alongside traditional oil refineries and open new, untapped markets for industrial biotechnology.
“The President has set an ambitious but achievable goal for biofuel development. The next generation of ethanol technology is within our grasp. The industry now needs concrete policy initiatives to assist the pioneers overcome the economic hurdles in deploying a promising technology,” said Jack Huttner, vice president of commercial and public affairs for Genencor. “The President’s vision for energy independence and his leadership will be an important part of making the biobased economy a reality.”
Genencor International, a Danisco company, is a leading industrial biotechnology company that develops innovative enzymes and bioproducts to improve the performance and reduce the environmental impact of the cleaning, textiles, fuels and chemicals industries.
Source: Genencor Press Release Feb. 01, 2006.