Biotechnology to Expand Use of Biomass In China

Joanna Schroeder

Novozymes continues to lead the way in biomass technologies with their new announcement that they are partnering with Dacheng Group, a major starch processing company based in China, to develop technologies designed to produce household cleaning products and plastics from agricultural waste. Both plastics and cleaning products typically have petroleum as one of their ingredients.

As part of the partnership, Novozymes will share its enzymes for converting biomass to sugar and then Dacheng Group will convert the sugar into glycol. Dacheng Group has the first commercialized plant in the world to produce plant-based glycols. Glycols are biochemicals used in household cleaning products and cosmetics as well as used as building blocks for making polyesters and plastics.

Xu Zhouwen, Chairman of Dacheng Group noted, “Dacheng and Novozymes have complementary technological advantages in the biomass-to-chemical industry and share the vision for the future that renewables such agricultural and forestry residues or even urban organic garbage should be important energy and material sources.”

China currently produces 700 million tons of ag waste per year, including corn and wheat stovers, rice straw and more. Currently, most of the waste is burned contributing to the country’s serious air pollution problems.

“This collaboration with Dacheng Group is another important step toward the future biobased society,” said Steen Riisgaard, CEO and President of Novozymes A/S. “Biotechnology will open the pathway to a biobased society in which renewable agricultural residues can be converted into biochemicals and nearly substitute the role that petrochemical industries have been playing since the industrial revolution.”

In addition to this agreement with Dacheng to produce biochemcials for bioplastics. Novozymes has partnered with Braskem in Brazil and Cargill in the United States on similar projects.

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