Novozymes, Royal Nedalco develop yeast

By Luke Geiver | April 15, 2010
Posted May 11, 2010

Royal Nedalco, a yeast developer and ethanol producer based in Europe, and Noyozymes, have partnered to develop a new process to ferment C5 and C6 sugars. The fermentation process of the C6 (glucose) sugar is considered more easily accomplished than the C5 (xlylose and arabinose) sugars, but producing cellulosic ethanol requires the fermentation of both. "Nedalco has successfully addressed the challenges of C5 sugar fermentation," said Ger Bemer, CEO of Royal Nedalco. "This partnership will aim to widen and speed up the commercial availability of C5 fermentation technology to cellulosic biofuel producers all over the world."

The joint effort started after the parties tested Nedalco's C5 and C6 yeast in a biomass-to-ethanol process based on Novozymes' enzymes, said Claus Fuglsang, senior director for Bioenergy R&D at Novozymes. "Novozymes is first and foremost an enzyme provider, but we wish to be a valuable partner for the biofuel industry," said Fuglsang. "By contributing our fermentation insight to this partnership we help producers of cellulosic biofuel increase their yields. This will benefit the entire industry."

Royal Nedalco will provide the yeast strains for the development program at a Nedalco facility in the Netherlands. Novozymes will provide insight and experimental work in relation to enzyme hydrolysis and processes around C5 and C6 sugar fermentation, said Fuglsang. There is no timeline for the completion of the project, but after the completion of the yeast strain testing, Royal Nedalco will market the product to cellulosic biofuels producers.