There are three types of ethanol feedstocks: sugar, starch and cellulose. The first two are expensive but easily processed, cellulose is cheap but requires costly enzymes to break it down. It seems that the long-time quest of biofuel industry for affordable enzyme to convert cellulose has come to fruition. Novozymes, the Danish biotech company that dominates about 45% of the global industrial enzyme market, has just unveiled its new enzyme Cellic CTec3 that allegedly performs 1.5 times better and requires only 20% of the enzyme dose in comparison to competing enzymes.
If this breakthrough will prove to be true, advanced biofuels will get a major boost. More efficient and affordable enzyme paves road to production of ethanol from wheat straw, corn stalks, household waste or switchgrass. The global biofuel production is estimated to reach 1,900 Million barrel in 2020, growing at a compound annual rate of 10% in the period 2015–2020, estimates a recent study Global Biofuel Production Forecast 2015-2020.
The new enzyme comes in the right time – turmoil in the Middle East and possibility of war with Iran are driving oil prices to nine-month high.