On-site enzyme production to cut costs in biorefining

Have it your way – Produce your own enzymes locally and minimize their operational cost


Key words: Enzyme, biorefinery, cellulose, on-site manufacturing, OSM, biochemical, biofuel

DURATION: 45 min + 15 min Q&A

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Biorefinering processes converting residual biomass into value added fuels and chemicals are advancing rapidly across the globe. Biochemical biorefineries rely on powerful cellulase enzymes to hydrolyze biomass into sugars, which can then be further converted into the desired end product. These enzymes are expensive and non-recyclable, therefore representing a significant cost barrier to the broader deployment of biorefinery concepts.

In this webinar we take a deep dive into the industrial cellulase production process, understand why cellulases are expensive and how alternative manufacturing processes can significantly cut the operational cost represented by enzymes.

We will take a look at the current global scenario of cellulosic biorefineries and define four alternative models for enzyme production – centralized, near-site, on-site and integrated. Each of these models comes with certain benefits and drawbacks, but there are some indisputable advantages in taking enzyme production down to the biorefinery level.   No one transports yeasts to biorefineries to run fermentations, so why should enzymes be any different?

In this talk, we will look at cellulase production using Trichoderma reesei  and break down enzyme cost into 5 key contributing factors:

  • Nutrient price
  • Fermentation yield
  • Fermentation productivity
  • Enzyme processing and logistics
  • Hydrolysis performance

We will see how each of these 5 factors influences overall enzyme cost and how different enzyme production models in turn influence these factors. For all the 5 factors, we will also discuss the available technical tools to minimize their cost impact. To attain minimal enzyme operational cost, which levers should be pulled and how ?

Key learning objectives:

  1. What is the global scenario of biochemical cellulosic biorefineries today
  2. Understand four alternative cellulase production models – centralized, near-site, on-site and integrated – and the pros and cons associated with each
  3. Learn what are the factors contributing to enzyme cost and what can be done to minimize them
  4. Insights to successful on-site enzyme production processes

Contact us for further info about the webinar:


Presented by:

Kaisa Marjamaa, Senior Scientist
Kaisa’s work is focused on development of enzymatic methods for industrial utilization of plant biomass components e.g. conversion into fuels and chemicals or fibre products. She has background in plant physiology, where I received my PhD from University of Helsinki in 2007. She has been working at VTT since 2008. Kaisa has strong expertise in enzyme discovery utilizing classical activity based and bioinformatics assisted methods and enzymology and applications of plant biomass degrading microbial enzymes.

Simo Ellilä, Research Scientist
Simo Ellilä is a Research Scientist in the Bioprocess Development team at VTT. After joining VTT at 2011 he has been actively involved in public and jointly funded projects related to cellulosic ethanol processes. His experience covers enzyme discovery, expression and characterization, biomass hydrolysis and fermentation processes. From 2013 to 2016 he worked in São Paulo, Brazil developing on-site enzyme production processes together with one of the largest cane crushers in Brazil – Odebrecht Agroindustrial.


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