Integrating cellulosic ethanol production via DHR. Source: Dedini. Click to enlarge.

Dedini S/A Indústrias de Base and Novozymes A/S signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aiming at continuing to develop a technological route to produce cellulosic ethanol in Brazil.

The objective of this partnership is to develop a process using an enzymatic hydrolysis route from sugarcane residues. This would result in the implementation of a demonstration plant, integrated into sugarcane mill refineries.

Dedini, a Brazil-bsaed global supplier of equipment and complete plants to the sugar-ethanol market, has developed a chemical pre-treatment process with diluted acid and a strong lignin solvent as part of DHR (Dedini Rapid Hydrolysis). The use of the lignin solvent at high temperatures enables rapid access to cellulose and hemicelllulose, with very fast sugar formation, raising yields, according to Dedini.

Novozymes earlier this year introduced commercially viable enzymes for production of cellulosic ethanol.(Earlier post.) At the introduction of the new Cellic CTec2 enzymes, Novozymes said that they enabled the production of cellulosic ethanol at a price below US$2.00 per gallon for the initial commercial-scale plants that are scheduled to be in operation in 2011.

We already had great advancements with the DHR—a technology that used the diluted acid process. For two years, Dedini has searched for partners to enable a solution on an industrial scale, based on the combination of experiences and technologies which would result in the sustainable production of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil. The partnership with Novozymes will contribute significantly to reaching this objective.

—José Luiz Olivério, Dedini Vice President of Technology and Development

Dedini and Novozymes expect to benefit from the commercial potential of cellulosic ethanol in Brazil due to the large availability of bagasse. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sugarcane, crushing more than 600 million tons per year, from which 27 billion liters (7.1 billion gallons) of ethanol is currently produced.

Brazil has been a world leader in the use of ethanol since the mid-1970s due to an abundance of sugarcane and the introduction of a national program after the first global oil crisis. Today, ethanol is predominant in Brazil’s transportation fuels market, used as an E100 (100% ethanol) and E25 blend, and the government has also mandated 20 to 25 percent ethanol blending in all gasoline. 90 percent of all new light vehicles sold in the country are flex-fuel, allowing them to run on any blend of ethanol and gasoline.

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