Novozymes, Xergi to develop biogas microbes

By Jessica Ebert
Danish biotechnology companies Novozymes and Xergi joined forces in mid-summer to develop new technologies and microbes capable of harnessing manure energy for the production of electricity, heat, fuel and fertilizer.

Although specific details about the companies' research and development plans weren't available at press time, Thomas Schafer, senior director for new business development at Novozymes, said representatives of Novozymes and Xergi will meet soon to establish targets for what the two companies want to achieve and how the venture will move forward. "We have some ideas, Xergi has some ideas, and now we're working to leverage those," Schafer said.

Objectives may include increasing the robustness of biogas plants by developing technologies and microbes that are insensitive to the incoming feedstock, or by improving the efficiency of the process and thereby the yield of energy. Since Novozymes boasts one of the most diverse collections of bacteria and fungi, the company will screen for microbes that can help to meet the set targets. Xergi excels in engineering and will be charged with designing new technologies. "We'll fit our biological solutions into Xergi's technology solutions," Schafer explained.