On January 3, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it has
awarded Novozymes and MBI
up to $2.5 million to develop new enzyme-based technologies to convert
corn stover into sugars for subsequent conversion into biofuels.
Novozymes, a world-leading enzyme company, brings its depth of expertise
in enzyme screening and development to the partnership, while MBI brings
its innovative AFEXTM biomass processing technology.
"There are two major challenges in converting agricultural biomass into
biobased products," said Allen Julian, Chief Business Officer of MBI.
"One is the challenge of handling, storing and hauling low-density
biomass to the refinery, and the other is the challenge of breaking down
the biomass cost-effectively into its constituent sugars."
AFEX technology can be practiced in depots close to the farm, allowing
dense biomass pellets to be economically stored and shipped to a distant
biorefinery. In addition, FEX alters the biomass structure so that
enzymes can more effectively break the biomass down into fermentable
The Novozymes/MBI collaboration is aimed at tailoring enzymes for
AFEX-treated biomass, which will in turn enable the production of
low-cost fermentable sugars. Such non-food biomass sugars can be
converted into bio-based fuels, chemicals and other products.
MBI previously won a $4.3 million Department of Energy award to develop
and scale up its AFEX technology. Under this project, MBI is currently
completing the installation of a 1 ton-per-day pilot-scale AFEX reactor
at its Lansing, Michigan facility.
MBI is a Lansing, Michigan based not-for-profit company whose mission is
to accelerate the commercialization of bio-based technologies.
Leveraging its world-class pilot facility and multi-disciplinary team,
MBI is developing and scaling up AFEXTM, an innovative
biomass processing technology that enables the generation of abundant,
clean, low-cost sugars from non-food sources. MBI is affiliated with
Michigan State University and is a member of the MSU BioEconomy Network.
For more information, visit www.mbi.org.
Novozymes is a global industrial biotechnology company and world leader
in enzymes, microorganisms and biopharmaceutical ingredients. Together
with customers across more than 30 industries, the company creates
tomorrow's industrial biosolutions, improving its customers' business
and the use of our planet's resources. With over 700 products used in
130 countries, Novozymes' bioinnovations improve industrial performance
and safeguard the world's resources by offering superior and sustainable
solutions for tomorrow's ever-changing marketplace. Read more at www.novozymes.com.
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