Member Spotlight: Novonesis

For our May Member Spotlight we talked to Novonesis, a global biotechnology company that manufacture enzymes, functional proteins and microorganisms with a facility in Blair, Nebraska.

Tell us about Novonesis.

Novonesis is a global biotechnology company that manufacture enzymes, functional proteins and microorganisms. These solutions – what we like to call “biosolutions” – are rooted in biology and are key to addressing many of the challenges our world faces. They’re transforming production, consumption and how we all live by utilizing the power of nature.

What products and services do you offer?

Our biosolutions create value for millions of consumers across more than 30 industries. In fact, a growing number of companies are improving your favorite foods and consumer products by incorporating our technology, often using them to replace harsh chemicals, improve nutrition and utilize less energy. These biosolutions can make bread softer, dishwash detergent more effective and baked goods healthier, just to name a few. They even make the gas in your car more sustainable.

Why is Nebraska an important location for Novonesis?

Our 37-acre plant in Blair, NE is part of the wider campus operated by Cargill and is the largest enzyme production site dedicated to biofuels. The plant is within a day’s drive to over 95% of North American biofuel customers, ensuring a reliable, cost efficient supply.

Here, we make enzymes that help producers decrease costs, increase yields and help diversify the co-products in the production of ethanol, biodiesel, cellulosic biofuels and more. And actually, over the past 10 years, enzymes from the site have enabled gasoline displacement via biofuels equivalent to taking 15 million cars off the road. These are the types of sustainable solutions that will help ensure we meet consumer needs now and in the future.

Essentially, we take corn grown in the area and, through biomanufacturing domestically, produce alternatives to petroleum-based products and create ingredients that will help to boost food security and consumer choice in the marketplace. The biosolutions that we produce help to create new markets for Nebraska farmers and provide new, good paying jobs to urban and rural communities.

How many employees and/or who are your key employees?

While Novonesis has about 10,000 employees globally, Blair has around 200 employees dedicated to meeting customer demands in bioenergy, animal feed and alternate proteins.

Who are your customers and where are they located?

The Blair site delivers to more than 100 different ethanol plants in the US, Canada and beyond. When you fuel up your car in the US, there’s more than a 60% likelihood that the ethanol you’re using has been produced with Novonesis biology.

Speaking more broadly, Novonesis biosolutions are used all over the world and are commonly used in industries such as agriculture, food and beverages, animal health & nutrition and human health.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing your industry today and how does Novonesis play a role in helping overcome those challenges?

It’s time for change. For food systems that deliver more, healthier food. For better health from the beginning of life right through to old age. And for a healthy planet for generations to come.

Novonesis biosolutions provide a unique ability to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our world today. And our customers look to us to help them do more with less and increase their business’ sustainability while continuing to deliver high quality products at scale.

Our biosolutions for planetary health enable, well, a healthier planet – for instance, by supporting lower energy consumption, higher yields and reduced use of chemicals. We’re tackling cimate change by reducing carbon emissions through cars with our biofuel solutions, and also reducing chemicals used in agriculture.

At the same time, our biosolutions for food & health enable healthier lives through food & beverages and through solutions for dietary supplements, infant nutrition and advanced proteins, to name a few.

What have been your greatest opportunities in the industry?

Enabling the production of biobased fuels has resulted in more than 10% of the US fuel supply now being secured with home grown, renewable, ag-based biofuels like ethanol. And in agriculture, enzyme-based biosolutions offer a means to enhance crop resilience and productivity in the face of climate change. These innovative solutions improve plant growth, nutrient uptake and stress tolerance.

But we’ve also had a hand in revolutionizing the effectiveness of detergents and dishwashers. As our R&D identified the most effective enzymes, detergent manufacturers began incorporating them into their products to target even the toughest stains, including oil and grease, on clothes and dishes.

This shift is particularly crucial considering the substantial environmental impact of detergent residues entering waterways and ecosystems. Today, a substantial portion of detergents available in the market harness the power of enzymes.

Anything on the horizon, or anything else you’d like to share?

Since initially investing in Blair in 2009 with a $200 million plan to build our original production facility, the site has become increasingly strategic for Novonesis. In fact, we recently invested $300 million to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing line for the production of alternative proteins via precision fermentation. This added an additional 70 jobs.

Looking forward, we’re excited to continue bolstering the rural economic development of the Blair area, while making daily life more healthy and sustainable for everyone.