23 August 2017

Let’s talk sugar: Advanced enzymes increase ethanol yields, plant profits

Trehalase products, developed from proven technology and easily implementable, convert sugar that would otherwise be wasted

Novozymes today announces the launch of Spirizyme® 2.0 T and Spirizyme Ultra T for the European ethanol market. The two products are part of the Spirizyme T Portfolio, an advanced suite of glucoamylase enzymes with trehalase that deliver yield enhancing activities documented to provide the highest total sugar conversion in the industry.

“Reducing residual sugar, such as trehalose, through better conversion, generates up to EUR 850,000 more ethanol revenue for the plant,” says Thomas Schrøder, Vice President, Biorefining Commercial. “Extensive plant trials of the Spirizyme T products have shown that they reduce the amount of residual DP2 sugars by up to 70 percent.”

Trehalose, a type of sugar that is normally left unfermented in a standard ethanol plant, is targeted by the trehalase enzyme to produce glucose, which is then fermented to ethanol (see box).

Trehalose makes up a significant part of the ‘DP2 peak’, which is a measure of disaccharides and contributes to the overall residual sugar in an ethanol plant. The more DP2 an ethanol plant can convert, the more ethanol it will produce.


Proven technology coupled with advanced technical services

The Spirizyme T product portfolio is based on proven technology with low risk of process errors. The solution can be easily integrated in the production. The portfolio is built on industry known glucoamylase blends, now with the addition of trehalase to further enhance performance.

From managing and analyzing plant data, Novozymes’ technical field scientists are equipped to understand the critical process conditions that determine which enzyme product is best suited for each individual plant. These technical teams are also a key resource in helping customers optimize product dosing for the best results.

“Apart from industry-leading conversion technology, we have a proven ability of delivering strong technical services, and of working with data-driven performance improvement,” adds Thomas Schrøder. “When our field scientists help optimize processes at the plants, alongside customers, magic happens in terms of more yields and more profits.”

Customers can get further support from Novozymes’ Bioenergy University, which provides customized education and training to help plant employees advance their skills and knowledge.

The products

  • Spirizyme Ultra T: The best DP2 reduction vs. cost; potential for higher ethanol yield
  • Spirizyme 2.0 T: Most advanced fiber degrading and trehalose converting technologies.

Maximizing ethanol yield potential with enzymatic fermentation blend:

Fiber degradation
Lowest Res. Starch
Reduced DP2

What is DP2?

Ethanol is produced by the fermentation of sugar by yeast. Commercial production of fuel ethanol involves breakdown of starch in corn, wheat, and other feedstocks into simple sugars, fermentation of these sugars by yeast, and finally, recovery of the ethanol and byproducts such as animal feed.

Unfermented sugars go to waste, which is why ethanol producers are interested in technologies that increase efficiency. After fermentation, ethanol plant managers will run High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) tests to measure the amount of residual sugar. The test measures four types of sugars: DP1 (single sugar chains such as glucose), DP2 (two-sugar chains such as trehalose), DP3 (3-sugar chains) and DP4 (everything else).

Reducing these sugar “peaks” is key to maximize ethanol production. At a typical ethanol plant, approx. 70 percent of DP2 is unfermentable trehalose, so by converting trehalose to a fermentable sugar, you can increase yield considerably. That is what the enzyme trehalase does.

Source: Novozymes, press release, 2017-08-17.


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