Kalundborg Bioenergy


Turning insulin waste into energy

In co-operation with Ørsted, Bigadan has established a full-scale biogas plant that we now operate. The plant handles waste products from the insulin and enzyme production at Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

A meaningful partnership

Bigadan procures organic by-products from Novo Nordisk and Novozymes' insulin and enzyme production. These by-products consist of yeast cells and biomass fra biotech production, the medium in which insulin and enzyme is cultivated. Once the fermentation process concludes and the insulin and enzyme are extracted, this residual 'yeast cream' is thermally treated for safe reuse. This transforms it into biogas, which is upgraded for the gas network, and into high-quality fertilizer for local agriculture. Annually, Bigadan processes about 300,000 tons of biomass from Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

From the factories to the farmers

The journey from managing and bio-digesting Novo Nordisk and Novozymes' organic residuals to converting yeast cream and biomass fra biotech production into a farmer's field fertilizer epitomizes the close-knit collaboration between Bigadan, Novo Nordisk, and local farmers. 

In addition to the 300,000 tons of yeast cream and biomass fra biotech production handled by Bigadan yearly, approximately 50,000 tons of other biomass, including animal glycerin, are incorporated. Collectively, they capitalize on the equivalent of 30 million cubic meters of gas and fertilizer for 10,000 hectares of land.

Overcoming the challenges

Back in 2015, Bigadan tested the gas potential of fermentation residues (yeast cream and biomass fra biotech production) from Novo Nordisk and Novozymes at a biogas pilot facility. Handling yeast cream presented challenges due to its cumbersome nature and strict safety requirements. However, the results were promising, leading to the construction of a full-scale biogas plant and the establishment of a distribution channel for the fertilizer component. 

This recycling of the by-product has notably resulted in a series of fertilizer products. The value of reusing this residue lies particularly in its nutrient content and plant availability, superior to standard livestock manure

“Sustainability is part of our DNA. Now, we are also starting to use biomass for large-scale biogas production. It's a double win for recycling by-products to benefit the environment, a prime example of true circular economy”

Jesper Haugaard
Vice President, Novozymes production in Europe and Denmark

“What we do in Denmark, utilizing biomass in new ways and in novel configurations, resonates globally as the circular economy gains traction”

Anders Schou
Product Chief, Kalundborg Bioenergi

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