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October 9, 2013

Novozymes and Beta Renewables open advanced biofuels facility in Italy

Mary Page Bailey

Novozymes (Copenhagen, Denmark; www.novozymes.com), the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes, and Beta Renewables, a global leader in cellulosic biofuels and part of the Mossi Ghisolfi Group, announced the official opening in Northern Italy of the world’s largest advanced biofuels facility. Situated in fields outside the city of Crescentino, it is the first plant in the world to be designed and built to produce bioethanol from agricultural residues and energy crops at commercial scale using enzymatic conversion. The two companies formed a strategic partnership in October 2012, making Novozymes the preferred enzyme supplier for Beta Renewables’ current and future cellulosic biofuel projects. 

The plant uses wheat straw, rice straw and arundo donax, a high-yielding energy crop grown on marginal land. Lignin, a polymer extracted from biomass during the ethanol production process, is used at an attached power plant, which generates enough power to meet the facility’s energy needs, with any excess green electricity sold to the local grid. The plant is designed  to produce 75 million liters of cellulosic ethanol annually from agricultural waste.

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