Novozymes utilises wastewater to produce biogas

Published: 10-Jun-2013

New shared biogas reactor produces as much electricity as seven offshore wind turbines, reduces carbon dioxide emissions and lowers energy costs

Novozymes and Novo Nordisk have collaborated to install a 36 meter tall, high-performance biogas reactor, which utilises wastewater from both Novo Nordisk and Novozymes’ large production facilities in Kalundborg for the efficient production of biogas.

The biogas reactor is one of the most efficient worldwide and will produce both electricity and heat. It can produce 47 MWh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to the output of seven offshore wind turbines or the electricity consumption of 12,000 households a year.

There are two specific reasons for Novozymes’ investment in the new biogas reactor, explains Line Sandberg, Vice President in Novozymes’ Danish production. 'First, we can reduce CO2 emissions from our production by 21,000 tons annually, equivalent to emissions from 12,000 households or 1000 trucks each driving a 1000 kilometers.

'In Novozymes, we have a long-term global strategy for the reduction of CO2 emissions from our production. Despite increasing productivity, the CO2 footprint has since 2005 been reduced by more than 175,000 tons globally – the equivalent of removing more than 60,000 cars off the roads. The biogas reactor is a natural part of this work.'

The second reason for the investment in the biogas reactor relates to the future, says Sandberg. In recent years, Novozymes has worked hard to make its production even more cost-efficient and competitive. 'The biogas reactor is an investment in lower energy costs. Our Danish production reaches the whole world so the energy costs are important to us. This way, the biogas reactor is an important investment in making Novozymes’ Danish production even more competitive,' he explains.


Both Novozymes and Novo Nordisk have an independent production facility next to each other in Kalundborg. However, the two companies share several things, such as the purchase of energy and the treatment of wastewater. Both Novo Nordisk and Novozymes have invested in the establishment of the biogas reactor, but Novozymes owns and operates it as well as the large plant for water purification that is a part of the reactor.

The two companies are also part of the so-called industrial Symbiosis, where local companies take advantage of each other’s waste streams.

'It is our vision in Novozymes to create a commercial success while promoting a sustainable environment and working to change the world,' says Sandberg. 'We are engaged in finding ways to do things differently so that the environment and the community around us can benefit from our solutions – now and in the long run. The biogas reactor is a great example of this.'

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