Novozymes and Dong Energy enter into enzyme agreement for UK bioplant

Novozymes, a Denmark-based biotechnology company, has announced that it will deliver the enzymes for Dong Energy’s enzyme-enabled bioplant in the UK.

The plant, which is in the process of being built by Danish energy firm Dong Energy, is based in Northwich in the north west of England and is called REnescience.

According to Dong Energy, it will be the first full-scale bio plant in the world capable of handling household waste by means of enzymes.

Thomas Dalsgaard, executive vice president in Dong Energy, said: "It's important to extract as many resources as possible from waste, and the enzymes are an important part of the process where we convert waste into green energy and recyclable material. We're pleased to enter into a partnership with Novozymes on setting up this type of plant."

According to Dong Energy, its plant will avoid the need to send waste to landfill.  In a statement, Dong Energy said that its REnescience plant in Northwich will ensure that as much of the waste as possible is recycled and converted into biogas, which can again be converted into green power.

The REnescience plant can sort 15 tonnes of waste per hour or 120,000 tonnes per year. This corresponds to the waste from almost 110,000 UK homes.

Thomas Schrøder, vice president in Novozymes, said: "Waste is a major problem for many urban areas around the world, but this technology turns the problem into a resource. Biorefineries like this, where trash is transformed into value, is an excellent example of circular economy in practice."

Waste becomes valuable products

With the REnescience technology, ordinary unsorted household waste is mixed with water and enzymes in a large reactor. Then, the actual chemical process starts, and the enzymes dissolve all food waste, labels and similar types of organic waste and turns it into a liquid that can be used for biogas.

 At the Northwich facility, the biogas will be used to generate around 5MW of electricity which is enough to power around 9,500 typical households. The remaining part of the waste is plastic and metal, which can be recycled, and then there is a part that is converted into fuel.

Novozymes and Dong Energy have also agreed to further develop the enzymes for the technology together.

"The further development of the enzymes will help us to continuously optimise the process and, at the same time, extract even more valuable products from the waste. This is both good for the environment and useful in terms of reducing the costs of waste management. I'm pleased that together we're also looking at the future prospects for this technology," said Dalsgaard.

Opportunities around the world

The REnescience plant in Northwich is expected to be operational in early 2017. Dong Energy will finance, build and operate the plant in the Northwich and will also look into the possibilities for building similar plants in other places around the world.

The enzyme supply agreement is a long-term non-exclusive agreement.

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