Novozymes launched a new enzyme for biofuel production aimed at regaining sales growth and market share in the U.S. market.
The Danish company said the product, Avantec Amp, improves yield and throughput in corn ethanol production and significantly reduces the need for urea, surfactants and ammonia.
A typical ethanol plant would be able to increase net profit by $2.5 million by using the product, Novozymes said, an important selling point as biofuel makers' margins have been pressured due to low oil prices recently.
"We are enthusiastic, but also aware that we are in a tough market. We hope it can help us to win market share and grow revenue," Peter Halling, vice president for biofuel, told Reuters.
The world's largest industrial enzyme maker has lost around 5 percentage points in market share in the U.S. bioethanol enzymes market in the past 12 months and now has a share of around 55 percent, a spokesman said. Its main rivals are Dupont and Dutch firm DSM.
Novozymes' enzymes have been aimed at producing better ethanol yields.
But as ethanol prices have fallen together with oil prices, ethanol producers have increased production of the side product DDGS, used for animal feed, for which prices have gone up.
Novozymes' biofuel unit reported negative organic growth for the third quarter last week.
The division counts for just under 20 percent of overall annual revenues but it has been touted as a future growth driver. Novozymes also makes enzymes for detergents, food, animal feed and beverages.
Halling said the new product would have only a modest sales impact in the fourth quarter but that Novozymes hoped it would gradually ramp up in the coming quarters.
"It is too early to say if it is a blockbuster or not. We will find out over the coming quarters," Halling said.
Novozymes launched a biofuel enzyme called Liquozyme LpH in the third quarter, targeted at low- and mid-tier customers.