Novozymes has announced a new research agreement that will explore enzymatic technology to produce fuel ethanol, fine chemicals, and protein from seaweed.
The industrial biotech firm has entered into an agreement with India-based Sea6 Energy to jointly develop a process for the production of biofuels from seaweed. The research alliance will use enzymes to convert seaweed-based carbohydrates to sugar, which can then be fermented to produce ethanol for fuel, fine chemicals, proteins for food, and fertilizers for plants.
Novozymes will research, develop, and manufacture enzymes for the conversion process, while Sea6 Energy contributes its offshore seaweed cultivation technology. “Seaweed is a natural complement to our efforts to convert other types of biomass to fuel ethanol,” says Per Falholt, Executive Vice President and CSO of Novozymes. “More than half of the dry mass in seaweed is sugar, and the potential is therefore significant.”
Sea6 Energy is currently trialing its cultivation technology in partnership with a few fishing communities around the coastal areas of South India. Novozymes’ Indian arm will work closely with Sea6 Energy to develop the conversion technology.