Source: NovozymesSource: Novozymes

A new yeast platform for starch-based ethanol and its first product, Innova Drive, have been unveiled by Novozymes. The completely new yeast strain can reduce fermentation time by up to two hours compared to current yeasts.

Most ethanol plants experience operational upsets related to yeast. High heat, infections, organic acids and throughput limitations are stressors that plague current yeasts, requiring plant personnel to increase antibiotics, reduce inputs such as corn solids and add more yeast — all contributing to process complexity. This leads to a double-impact of increased costs and lost revenue.

The new yeast strain is tougher and can continue to ferment in adverse conditions such as higher organic acids and temperatures. This stress resistance leads to more consistent fermentations, increases ethanol output and reduces operational costs.

The Innova Drive process allows ethanol producers to operate their plants at higher temperatures year-round and to achieve higher production levels. Using yeast bred to power through heat excursions up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit/~37 degrees Celsius, operators can diminish plant downtime, increase efficiency and output in any season, and potentially decrease cooling costs.

The method is tolerant to high organic acids, and fermentations will finish even when acid levels rise as high as 0.6 percent. During fermentation, Innova Drive produces a novel, higher-performing glucoamylase enzyme that is twice as effective as glucoamylases produced by other yeast products in converting sugar into ethanol.

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