Novozymes, Inbicon & Statoil fueling Danish cars with wheat straw ethanol
By Jon H. Harsch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
Washington, Aug. 28 – With last week's first delivery of 7,500 gallons of ethanol made from wheat straw, Danish drivers will soon reduce greenhouse gas emissions by running their cars on agricultural waste. This biofuels break-through is part of an agreement by Demark's Statoil oil company to buy 1.3 million gallons of cellulosic bio-ethanol from a pilot Inbicon bio-refinery for blending with gasoline.
The cost efficiencies needed to make wheat straw ethanol commercially viable are the result of new enzymes developed by Novozymes. Poul Ruben Andersen, Biofuel Marketing Director at Novozymes, explains that thanks to the Statoil/Inbicon contract, “We are very excited that Danish motorists will now be able to fuel their cars with biofuel made from agricultural waste. It shows that the technology is ready and able. Now we need to get large-scale commercial production up and running. To do so we need strong commitment from the industry as well as political support.”
Prior to this Statoil/Inbicon contract, Statoil purchased first-generation biofuels made from products which can also be used as food such as corn, wheat and sugar beets. The new Inbicon contract covers 1.3 million gallons of second-generation biofuels made from agricultural and forestry residues.
Inbicon CEO Niels Henriksen says the challenge is to bring biofuels to the market at a low enough cost. “The new demonstration plant in Kalundborg is a break-through in the commercialization of sustainable biofuel production from plant residues,” he explains. “The main goal is to prove that the Inbicon process is viable under industrial conditions.” He credits Inbicon's collaboration with Novozymes to develop new enzymes as essential “to make the Inbicon process the most cost-efficient solution in cellulosic ethanol.”
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