A world leader in biological solutions.
Photographs: Unsplash / Novozymes FB Page
Text: Mariano Anthony Davies
Sustainable growth is one of the core global challenges and Novozymes brings the power of biology and science to answer the call.
Novozymes was founded in 2000 as the result of a demerger from pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk. Novozymes’ roots date back to the 1920s when Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium and Nordisk Insulin Laboratorium were established in Copenhagen. Enzyme production began in 1941.
Novozymes spearheads environmental and social change. For example, in 2018, it is estimated that 88 million tons of CO2 emissions did not take place due to the use of Novozymes’ products. The savings achieved are equivalent to taking approximately 37 million cars off the road.
Novozymes is the world leader in bio innovation. Its business is industrial enzymes and microorganisms. Enzymes are proteins, and in nature they initiate biochemical reactions in all living organisms. Enzymes convert the food in our stomachs into energy and turn the falling leaves in the forest into compost.
They can partially replace the chemicals in laundry detergents with more climate-friendly bio-based ingredients. For example, they have shown that they can cut the level of surfactants (surface-active agents in textiles) by 30% in a standard detergent and add a blend of enzymes. The performance of this detergent matches or even exceeds the standard one.
Best of all, washing with this detergent could potentially save an estimated 9g of CO2 per load of laundry. This may not sound like much, but scaled up, its impact is huge. Applied to just half of all laundry loads in Latin America, for example, the annual CO2 savings would be equal to taking 45,000 cars off the road for a year.
Novozymes started rethinking an approach to bread waste more than thirty years ago. The result was the Novamyl family of freshness enzymes. Since its launch in 1990, they have saved an estimated 80 billion loaves of bread from being thrown away. If you stacked those loaves up, they would reach the moon and back ten times.
"If we want to make climate neutrality a reality, we urgently need to use every tool we have available. That is why biofuels are essential to meeting our net-zero ambitions. They are currently one of the most cost-effective solutions for carbon emissions reductions." - Hans Ole Klingenberg
If 80 billion fewer loaves were produced because of bread not being thrown away, Novamyl has so far saved an estimated 45 million tonnes of CO2 since 1990. Following the success of Novamyl, they continued to innovate, launching solutions to extend freshness and reduce waste in flatbreads, rye bread, wraps and cakes.
Novozymes find enzymes in nature and optimises them for use in industry. In industry, enzymes replace chemicals and accelerate production processes. They help users make more from less, while saving energy and generating less waste. Enzymes are widely used in laundry and dishwashing detergents, removing stains and enabling low temperature washing and concentrated detergents.
Other enzymes improve the quality of beer and wine or increase the nutritional value of animal feed. Enzymes are also used in the production of biofuels, where they turn starch or cellulose from biomass into sugars which can be fermented to ethanol.
These are just a few examples as they sell enzymes to more than 40 different industries. Like enzymes, microorganisms have natural properties that can be put to use in a variety of processes. Novozymes supplies a range of microorganisms for use in agriculture, animal health and nutrition, industrial cleaning and wastewater treatment.
According to Hans Ole Klingenberg (Novozymes VP Marketing), if we want to make climate neutrality a reality, we urgently need to use every tool we have available. That is why biofuels are essential to meeting our net-zero ambitions. They are currently one of the most cost-effective solutions for carbon emissions reductions.
In the future, biofuels from biorefineries will also help decarbonise heavy-duty transport including marine and aviation as well as could potentially even supply other products to support the net-zero journey, including biochemicals and high value protein feed.
The Novo Group is a group of independent companies controlled by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Novo Holdings serves as the holding company of the Group.
Through Novo Holdings, the Foundation owns the controlling stake in the two major companies of the Novo Group: Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, both of which are publicly listed. Novo Holdings owns more than 25% of the ordinary share capital of the two companies and controls more than 70% of the votes, given the ownership of all the preferred (A) shares of Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.