Novozymes Breaks Ground on Nebraska Facility

Novozymes (NVZ.L) breaks ground today on a new production facility in Blair, Nebraska.

The facility is expected to cost between $160-$200 million, and represents a doubling of the original planned investment. The company said in a release the expansion will be needed to meet market demand for enzymes for biofuel production in the coming years.

Novozymes regularly appears on the SB20 List
produced by’s green investing newsletter, Progressive Investor.

“We expect strong growth for first and second generation fuel ethanol,
and we have to be ready to deliver the required quantities of enzymes
to support such growth. We are therefore building a much larger
production plant than initially announced”, says Lars Hansen,
President, Novozymes North America.

The new facility will be located on a 30-acre property at the Biorefinery Campus in Blair, Nebraska, about 25 miles north of Omaha. The plant is expected to be fully operational in approximately two years and Novozymes will hire at least 100 new employees for the facility, the company said.

The new facility will produce enzymes for the production of both first and second generation bioethanol. First generation bioethanol is produced from sugar or starchy raw materials such as wheat or corn. Second-generation bioethanol is produced from feedstock containing cellulosic biomass such as the stalks, leaves, and husks of corn plants, wood chips, and sawdust. Second-generation bioethanol may also be produced from energy crops such as switch grass.

In order to produce bioethanol, refiners must break down starch or the cellulose in raw materials. Enzymes are one way to break down these materials. Novozymes said it is on track to deliver commercially viable enzymes for the production of second generation (cellulosic) ethanol by 2010.

In February, the company said it has cut by half the cost of these enzymes.

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