Published April 2002
Industrial enzymes are used in a variety of applications - e.g. detergents, animal feeds, food processing, tanning, starch processing and textiles - with the highest volume applications in the detergent industry. The dominant producers in industrial enzymes are Novozymes and Genencor, which hold over 60% of the worldwide market. Both are seeking to diversify out of industrial enzymes, using their knowledge of protein expression and function to enter the more lucrative biotherapeutic sector. Consolidation in the mid-90s reduced competition, but strong price pressures remain in the detergent enzyme market. In this report, we provide a technical and economic evaluation of the production of cellulase from cellulosic feedstock, using a Trichoderma reesei fungal strain, for direct use in a cellulosic biomass-to-bioethanol plant. In this case, the cellulase is not recovered as a separate product.
We also evaluate the production of cellulase, again using a Trichoderma reesei strain, but in this case for use as a component in a detergent formulation. The process uses a lactose substrate instead of a cellulosic substrate. The process design includes recovery of the cellulase from the fermentation broth and granulation. The final technical evaluation in this report considers production of an alkaline subtilisin protease from Bacillus licheniformis. The projected use of the protease is again as a component in a detergent formulation. The process design includes the recovery of the protease and incorporation into granules.
Our process economics evaluation for cellulase-from-cellulosic feedstock indicate that at current scales of cellulase plants, cellulase costs would be a major barrier to the commercial viability of bioethanol from cellulosic material. Surprisingly, at current cellulase plant scales, using more expensive lactose as a feedstock is more economical than using cellulosics, because of the higher productivity and enzyme titer achievable using a lactose substrate. Economics were also estimated for protease production.
All processes evaluated in this report showed very strong economies of scale. This suggests that price pressures will remain strong, as there are strong incentives to gain market share and reduce costs. The strong economies of scale create barriers to entry, and all three major players are continually innovating their product line and technology. Hence new or minor players in the market can only be successful in niche markets, with organic growth of market share being difficult.
This report will be of interest to enzyme producers, companies seeking to enter the enzymes market, purchasers of enzymes, and researchers interested in the application of enzymes in bioethanol production. In addition to the detailed technical and economic analysis of enzyme production processes, an industry status section is included, which provides current data on enzyme markets and applications.
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