Novozymes’ Bertz discusses newest Innova product

By Matt Thompson | February 28, 2020

According to Novozymes’ head of launch strategy and execution, Kim Bertz, the company’s latest yeast release, Innova Fit, allows plant managers to run their facilities how they see fit—either increasing solids, powering through higher fermentation temperature excursions, or both. “We’ve seen many plants, when high temperatures would occur, in order to mitigate stress in their fermenters, they would bring solids down, resulting in a more dilute mash going in,” she said. Temperature constraints, along with the stress of handling more solids, can increase variability and reduce efficiency to significantly decrease ethanol production, Bertz added.

She said Innova Fit can handle temperature excursions up to 96 degrees, and potentially even higher. “Based on what we’ve seen with the rest of the Innova yeasts in our platform, we expect it to handle higher temperatures and other robustness challenges.”

Bertz says temperature constraints and limitations around increased solids create “bottlenecks and variability” which Innova Fit seeks to eliminate for ethanol producers. “We have yeast that can push through those to become more consistent and efficient,” she said. “And, because Fit is able to handle these rigors, it really can start to shine, delivering higher ethanol yields up to 2 percent with reliability significantly beyond what was once the plant’s normal operating conditions.”

The new yeast also opens-up new technology to producers who favor non-genetically modified technology. “For well over a decade, this segment of the industry has been limited by lack of yeast advancement, we’re working to change that—up-leveling this category by bringing unmatched robustness similar to what we’ve delivered previously from the Innova platform,” she said.

Producers who favor non-GM technology, she said, are often driven by demand or regulatory requirements in other global regions. “Typically, we’ll see customers wanting a non-GM technology because of their customers—the markets they’re selling into such as beverage alcohol, their local government requiring non-GM inputs, or a variety of other business decisions which make this their technology choice,” Bertz said.

Fit marks the fourth release under the Innova platform in 24 months, which shows, Bertz said, that producers are eager for new production technologies. “It’s amazing science that’s happening in ethanol production. It’s quite different than what was happening, two, five and 10 years ago,” Bertz said.