Novozymes E85 vehicles – Click above for high-res image gallery

Government waste takes on a whole new meaning today as a Chevrolet HHR and a flex-fuel Ford F-150 powered by ethanol roll into Washington D.C. for the Auto Show. Granted, a couple of E85-powered vehicles in our Nation's Capitol isn't all that interesting in and of itself, but these have their tanks filled with alcohol fuel derived from government office waste paper and waste cardboard.

The demonstration is masterminded by Novozymes, which has partnered with Maryland-based Fiberight to show off that firm's biofuel enzyme technology. This fuel can reportedly be created using a wide variety of materials, including agricultural residues, municipal waste and so-called energy crops – feedstock grown specifically for biofuel use.

Interestingly, Novozymes' research into the enzyme biofuel technology was also fueled by taxpayer dollars: the first DOE grant totaled $2.2 million and was given in 2002; the second for $12.3 million was given in 2008. Why do we care? Well, it's generally argued that biofuels like ethanol reduce overall carbon emissions and don't require drilling for fossil fuels. Deriving ethanol from corn or other food crops, though, isn't exactly an ideal situation. So, the promise of cheap alcohol fuels from waste is a fine one indeed. Click past the break for the official press release.


Related GalleryNovozymes E85 Vehicles

[Source: Novazymes, The Detroit Bureau]
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First-Ever Car Powered by Government Paper Waste Makes Debut at Washington Auto Show

Novozymes to demonstrate improved enzyme technology for advanced biofuels


WASHINGTON – For the first time in U.S. history, a vehicle fuelled by government office waste paper and waste cardboard will drive the streets of Washington D.C. today. Global bioinnovation company Novozymes has partnered with Maryland-based Fiberight to provide the demonstration fuel.

"The advanced biofuels showcased here today demonstrate that the enzyme technology is ready for market. What we need now is commercialization and deployment of advanced biofuels in order to help meet our country's most pressing energy and environment challenges," said Adam Monroe, president, Novozymes North America.

During today's 'Ride 'n Drive' event, government VIP's and members of the media will get the chance to test drive a flex-fuel Chevrolet HHR at the Washington Convention Center. In the exhibition hall, a flex-fuel Ford F150 – also fuelled with the wastepaper-based biofuel – will be on display throughout the week. Both vehicles run on E85, a blend of 85 percent biofuel and 15 percent gasoline.

Novozymes multi-year research and development efforts have resulted in an enzyme cocktail that can now be used to make advanced biofuel from agricultural residues, municipal waste and energy crops. The biofuel demonstrated at the show is produced by Fiberight (www.fiberight.com). After a sequence of pulping, pre-treatment and wash, enzymes from Novozymes turn the paper and cardboard waste into sugars that are then fermented into biofuel. A sample of the paper feedstock will also be on display throughout the show.

The company is no stranger to the government spotlight. President Bush visited Novozymes headquarters in North Carolina in February 2007 to learn about enzyme technology which resulted in part of the plans for the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Novozymes also received two contracts from the DOE for its research efforts to bring down the cost of enzymes and improve their efficiency in converting cellulose to biofuels. The first contract for $2.2 million was given in 2002, and the second for $12.3 million was given in 2008.

As a result of this work, Novozymes has been able to achieve significant reductions in enzyme costs over the years, notably the 50 percent reduction announced in 2009. Most recently, the company received a $28.4 million tax credit toward the construction of its enzyme manufacturing facility in Blair, Nebraska which will create 100 new green jobs.

Advanced biofuels can deliver up to 90 percent CO2 emission reduction compared to gasoline and are the most cost-efficient way of reducing CO2 in the transport sector. In 2009, the deployment of Novozymes' technologies in all industries resulted in the reduction of CO2 emissions totaling approximately 27 million tons – the equivalent of taking 7 million cars off the road.