Genencor releases new enzyme product

By Erin Voegele | June 23, 2011

California-based Genencor, a division of Danisco A/S, has announced the release of a new enzyme product, Accellerase TRIO. The new project is designed to enable biorefinery companies to more cost-effectively manufacture cellulosic fuels from a wide range of feedstocks, including switchgrass, wheat straw, corn stover and municipal solid waste.

The new product allows for low enzyme dosage to produce ethanol, which helps to improve the economics of cellulosic biofuel production. According to Genencor, Accellerase TRIO includes a cocktail of enzymes that breakdown the glucan (C6) and zylan (C5) found in cellulosic feedstocks into fermentable sugars, which increases the yield per unit of feedstock.

“We’re very excited about the Accellerase TRIO,” said Aaron Kelley, Genencor’s director of business development. “We think that it’s going to be a market-leading product that really sets the bar [and] takes another step forward for Accellerase DUET…We think this [product] is going to significantly reduce the amount of enzymes that it takes to get the conversion level that our customers are seeking.” In fact, Kelley notes that data indicates a two-fold lower dose of enzymes is needed when compared to the performance of Accellerase DUET.

According to Kelley, there is a tight interaction between enzyme performance and feedstock pretreatment. “We are very actively working with customers to try to optimize [that relationship],” Kelley said. While the Accellerase TRIO product takes roughly the same period of time to convert C5 and C6 sugars into fermentable sugars, Kelley also notes that when added at the same dosing, the conversion levels are significantly higher with Accellerase TRIO.

While several biobased chemical and bioplastic companies are looking to utilize cellulosic feedstocks, Kelley said that the primary market for Genencor’s cellulosic enzyme products is still the biofuels industry. “We definitely view the Accellerase platform as a renewable sugar platform,” he said. “Our general read of the market is that a lot of the biochemical folks are relying more on the cellulosic ethanol to drive the success of the cellulosic part of the technology. They want to be early adopters in moving over to that as it shows some success. There are a few exceptions to that. A few of the biochemical folks are maybe looking more closely at this stage, but a lot of them are kind of relying on the cellulosic ethanol [companies] to blaze the path.”

Accellerase TRIO is the latest advancement in Genencor’s Accellerase product line that earned the “Frost & Sullivan 2009 New Product Innovation Award” for enzymes for biofuel production and also this year’s “Sustainable Technology Award” at the World Biofuels Market conference in Rotterdam.

“Second-generation biofuels offer important energy security, as well as economic and environmental benefits to countries such as the U.S., China, India and European nations that import a majority of their oil,” said Genencor CEO Tjerk de Ruiter. “Accellerase TRIO can accelerate the commercial production of cellulosic biofuels in markets across the world, helping many countries and companies find a more sustainable alternative to petroleum.”