European collaboration to focus on enzyme development

By | October 06, 2009
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, northern Europe's largest multi-technological applied research organization, is spearheading an 8.2 million ($12 million), four-year project to develop enzymes that can be used to cut lignocelluloses from agricultural and forestry waste feedstocks into sugar compounds suitable for ethanol production. The novel high-performance enzymes and microorganisms for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to bioethanol (NEMO) project will also focus on tailoring the metabolism of microbes to be capable of producing large volumes of ethanol from such biomass sugars economically and efficiently.

Eighteen participants from 17 European nations will participate in the project, including Sweden-based Sekab E-Technology and Switzerland-based Syngenta Crop Protection AG. The EU has provided 5.9 million for the project, which, if successful, will benefit the EU's goal of replacing 5.75 percent of traffic fuel with biofuels by 2010.