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Nebraska Biofuel Enzyme Plant Hosts Tour with Senior DOE Official

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Novozymes manufactures an enzyme that converts the cellulose of various feedstocks.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Department of Energy Senior Advisor Peter Gage joined the President of Novozymes North America Adam Monroe and Associate Vice President of the Metropolitan Community College Bill Owen to visit the community college’s Washington County Technology Center and tour the new Novozymes production plant in Blair, Nebraska. Gage highlighted the President’s call to extend the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit to help launch a new era of American energy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy resources and produced by American workers.  He also emphasized the importance of providing America’s students and workers the education and training they need to gain the jobs of tomorrow.

Novozymes manufactures an enzyme that converts the cellulose of various feedstocks – like waste paper and cardboard, wood chips, and corn stover – into simple sugars that are then fermented into biofuels. Under the Recovery Act, Novozymes was awarded a clean energy manufacturing tax credit for $28.4 million that helped the company expand its production operations in Blair, Nebraska.

“As part of his blueprint for an American economy built to last, President Obama called for an all-out, all-of-the-above energy strategy that’s cleaner, safer, full of new jobs and develops every available source of American energy,” said Gage. “Extending the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit will encourage further investment in clean energy manufacturing here in Nebraska and across the nation, ensuring new windmills, solar panels and biofuel products are produced and assembled by American workers.” 

When fully operational in mid-2012, Novozymes estimates that the new plant will employ 100 local workers, including chemical and electrical engineers, information technology specialists, and equipment operators, in addition to the approximately 400 construction workers hired to build the facilities. During the tour, Gage, Monroe and Owen observed the enzyme recovery facility, fermentation operations, and quality control labs.

“Renewable energy is real. Novozymes is proud of our successful investment in manufacturing here in Nebraska, helping to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio. We are creating jobs here in Blair and more economic opportunity to our farmers and rural communities,” said Monroe. “President Obama has called for a new era of American energy, creating good American jobs by leveraging our domestic energy resources. Working together, America is getting it done. We appreciate our strong partnership with the Department of Energy, where the private sector is the engine of growth – and the public sector provides consistent policy support.”

Prior to touring Novozymes’ new production facilities, Gage, Monroe and Owen visited the Metropolitan Community College’s Washington County Technology Center, a collaborative project between the community college, the Gateway Development Corporation, the city of Blair, Washington County, Novozymes and several other Blair industry partners. The Center’s program helps prepare students for entry-level employment and advancement opportunities as technical professionals in process and power plants with hands-on training in real work environments.

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