Novozymes moves into yeast production for ethanol producers

biofuels news item image

Novozymes has unveiled its new yeast platform for starch-based ethanol, designed to help ethanol producers ‘get more’ from their raw materials.

The first product in the new yeast platform is Innova Drive, a new yeast strain designed to reduce fermentation time by up to two hours compared to current yeasts, according to Novozymes.

Yeast is a vital component of ethanol production. It is added during the fermentation process, consuming the raw materials and releasing ethanol and carbon dioxide. The stronger and more efficient the yeast, the better it can tolerate production stresses and generate ethanol.

“The first product from our yeast platform, Innova Drive is a completely new ride for the ethanol industry. It puts plant operators in the driver’s seat to run fermentations the way they need to,” says Brian Brazeau, Novozymes’ vice president for Biofuels Commercial. “Yeast is a major bottleneck that requires constant care and attention. Innova Drive is a response to the needs of the ethanol industry, and resets expectations for how tough a yeast can be.”

Novozymes claims that during fermentation, Innova Drive produces a higher-performing glucoamylase enzyme. Apparently, this enzyme is twice as effective as glucoamylases produced by other yeast products when it comes to converting sugar into ethanol.

“We are leveraging the synergies of our best-in-class enzymes and new yeast. The enzymes expressed by the yeast, in combination with carefully tailored companion enzyme products, give you a cocktail of enzyme activities that will feed the yeast in an optimal manner throughout fermentation,” says Brazeau. “For an ethanol producer, this means increased efficiency in starch conversion, greater starch conversion, lower residual starch – and, at the end of the day, more ethanol.”

Headquartered in Denmark, Novozymes is a biotechnology company specialising in the use and development of enzymes and microbes.