Novozymes to supply enzymes for Finnish sawdust–fuel plant

Novozymes to supply enzymes

St1 Biofuels, Finland, will procure enzymes to produce ethanol from sawdust at its upcoming plant in Kajaani from Danish enzyme maker Novozymes.

Novozymes helps US biofuel industries meet about 60 percent of their enzyme requirements. Most industries in that country, though, only convert edible raw materials such as corn into biofuel, according to a statement.

The plant being built by St1 Biofuels, named Cellunolix, is touted to be the world’s first sawdust-based biofuel plant. The company has located the facility at Kajaani in central Finland owing to the availability of sawdust from timber yards in the vicinity.

Sawdust is different from the normal raw materials used for biofuel production and the fuel produced from it is termed advanced or cellulosic biofuel.

The Kajaani plant is expected to produce 10 million liters of bioethanol each year. The facility will be leased to North European Oil Trade, which engages in oil and bioproduct wholesale trade. The plant should be ready by 2016, according to a statement.

As part of the production process, the enzymes that Novozymes will supply are to help speed up fermentation of saw dust and turn the raw material into ethanol. The process will help lower the cost of biofuel projects, a report stated.

Novozymes recently struck deals to supply enzymes to plants in countries such as Malaysia, Brazil, Italy and China.

Some of these projects can undertake biomass conversion, that is natural feedstock can be converted to materials such as plastics.

Finland is expanding its volume of waste-based and residue-based ethanol production in keeping with its climate strategy and to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The country had set the target of meeting 20 percent of the energy requirements of the transport sector provided from renewable sources by 2020.

Being a carbon-neutral fuel, ethanol produced from waste and residue is used to produce high-blend ethanol fuel for flex-fuel vehicles and also as a biocomponent in petrol.

Ajith Kumar S

editor@greentechlead.com