The project was developed in the R&D subsidiary of Abengoa Bioenergy and resulted a landmark in the development of renewable energy, both from the technological and the economical points of view. The target was the production of a cellulolytic cocktail competitive in cost for use in the first plant of lignocellulosic ethanol under construction by the company in Kansas, USA. The enzymatic cocktail had to beat the ones available then in the market, produced by the world leading enzyme suppliers likeNovozymes and Genencor.
With a lifespan of 8 years, the project started with the purchase of a technology license on the producing microorganism and the installation offirst level biotechnology research laboratories in the company, creating a team of more than 60 researchers for the genetic improvement of the organism, the industrial scale-up and production of the enzyme cocktail, as well as the optimization of the process for the production of the lignocellulosic ethanol with the produced enzyme cocktail.
Through this project, the enzymatic technology developed became world leader in efficiency and cost, reaching an economic value that, according to estimations from an external consulting firm specialized in these valuations, amounted six times the total investment in technology plus R&D expenses of the project.