Enzyme development means increased ethanol yield, energy savings

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:00 am

Novozymes, the Danish company with an enzyme plant near Blair, Neb., said it has developed a new enzyme that can increase ethanol yield from corn by as much as 5 percent, increase corn oil by 13 percent and save 8 percent on energy.

The improvements result from the combination of two new enzymes, Spirizyme Achieve and Olexa, with a third enzyme, Avantec.

A typical U.S. ethanol plant uses 36 million bushels of corn per year and produces 100 million gallons of ethanol, 300,000 tons of animal feed and 8,500 tons of corn oil. The plant can produce the same amount from 1.8 million fewer bushels of corn, adding $5 million in annual profit, Novozymes said.

Andrew Fordyce, executive vice president for business operations, said Novozymes customers will begin trying out the new technology.

Enzymes convert the starch in corn mash into sugar, which is then fermented into ethanol and other products. The new combination makes the conversion more efficient and frees up more corn oil from the grain, Novozymes said.

Corn oil is used for animal feed, biodiesel fuel and soap, among other products.

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