Cradle-to-Gate Environmental Assessment of Enzyme Products Produced Industrially in Denmark by Novozymes A/S

Per Henning Nielsen, Karen Margrethe Oxenbøll, Henrik Wenzel

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Enzymes are biological catalysts with an enormous capacity to increase the speed of a huge variety biochemical eactions. Industrially produced enzymes are used in a broad variety of sectors to increase quality, speed and yield of processes, and reduce energy consumption and use of hazardous chemicals. The present paper provides a methodological framework for analysing environmental impacts of enzyme products and environmental data for five characteristic enzyme products.

Life cycle assessment is used as an analytical tool and modelling of enzyme production is facilitated in SimaPro 6.0 software. Detailed data on enzyme production are derived from Novozymes' production facilities in Denmark. Data on ingredients are derived from the literature, publicly available databases and from Novozymes' suppliers.

Cradle-to-gate environmental data for five representative enzyme products produced by Novozymes in Denmark have been determined, and a basis for further assessments of more of Novozymes' enzyme products has been established. Environmental impacts induced by producing the considered enzyme products vary by a factor 10 or more depending on the impact category considered. Contributions to global warming range, for example, between one and ten kg CO2-equivalents per kg final product. The variation is explained by differences in fermentation time, formulation type, production yield and strength of the final product. The main sources of environmental impact are usually fermentation processes due to electricity and ingredient consumption. Enzyme production has been the subject of significant optimisation during the past decades by implementation of e.g. gene modified production strains, and the provided environmental data are only representative to enzyme products produced by Novozymes at the present optimisation stage.

Novozymes produces more than 600 enzyme products for use in a variety of sectors, and the established framework for environmental assessment will be used for assessing more products in order to provide a broad basis for environmental comparison of enzyme assisted technologies and conventional technologies.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)432-438
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 2007


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