An EUR 100m EIB loan is supporting research, development and innovation (RDI) projects in enzymes, novel proteins and micro-organisms by Novozymes, the world’s largest producer of industrial enzymes. The firm is located in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.
“In nature, enzymes catalyse biochemical reactions. They convert food in our stomachs into energy and turn fallen leaves into compost. Enzymes help us make products more efficient,” says Mads Bodenhoff, Vice-President of Finance at Novozymes. In industry, enzymes replace chemicals and accelerate production processes. They help companies make more using less water, energy and raw materials with technology that replaces conventional chemicals and reduces environmental impact.
Supporting leading-edge bio-innovation
“With over 700 products used in 130 countries, our bio-innovations improve industrial performance and safeguard the world’s resources by offering better and more sustainable solutions,” says Bodenhoff. The EIB has already successfully provided the rapidly growing and innovative company with financial backing for its RDI. Novozymes also regularly figures high on the European Commission’s R&D scorecard, which compares the R&D investment levels among Europe’s top companies. It invests 14% of its revenue in research and development, which is high in comparison to industry peers.
Converting waste into fuel
Novozymes is also developing the enzymes needed to produce cellulosic (“second-generation”) biofuel. This is widely seen as preferable to first generation biofuel, as it uses agricultural residues and waste rather than crops such as corn and wheat. Biofuel based on waste is able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 90% compared to fossil fuels.
“The way forward is to convert the residue part of the crop into sugars which can then be used for fuels," Bodenhoff explains. Thus wood chips, stalks and husks can be turned into a valuable resource. “The technology is ready now and offers a solution to many problems,” he adds. “If you take just 20% of the agricultural and forest residue available in Europe, which can be taken away from the fields sustainably, you can meet half of Europe's fuel needs.”