Enzymes enhance the environment

Applications of enzymes are characterised by inherently cleaner processes with less waste and less impact on the environment and, if taken to the full potential, they can improve industrial production along all three dimensions of sustainable development: environment, society and economy.

"We integrate environmental concerns whenever we develop a new enzyme. We look at the markets, what we can do technologically, and, of course, where are the possible outlets. It goes without saying that we have to make money on the products we develop", says Kirsten Stær, Director External Affairs at Novozymes.

Since the 1950s Novozymes has developed enzymes to improve animal feed, foodstuffs and detergents, as an alternative to hazardous chemicals in industrial processes, or to convert waste into bio-fuel. In step with the technological development, Novozymes has developed its products continuously, and today Novozymes is one of the world's leading companies within its field, with a market share of approx. 40 per cent.

Phytase in food reduces phosphorous in water
One of the applications where addition of enzymes has made a real difference is the aquatic environment. "By way of illustration, by adding the enzyme phytase to animal feed, the amounts of phosphorus excreted by the animals can be significantly reduced", says Kirsten Stær.

Phosphorus is one of the nutrients that are essential for building strong bones. A major part of the naturally occurring phosphorus in cereals and seeds is stored by the plants as phytate or phytic acid. The phytate-bound phosphorus is largely unavailable to monogastric animals such as poultry and pigs. These animals simply lack the enzyme needed to break it down. As a result, the phytate passes straight through their digestive system and is excreted.

Double effect
Animal feed producers and farmers must therefore add phosphate to pig and poultry feed, and for many years this has been done by adding inorganic phosphates to the feed. In this way the animals get sufficient phosphorus, but the large amount of phytase is still excreted with the manure into the environment. This may have a very negative impact on the environment, since excessive phosphorus released into e.g. lakes and streams may cause oxygen depletion.

"By adding the enzyme phytase to the animal feed, farmers get a double effect. The phytase makes the naturally occurring phosphate in grain more available, which allows the farmer to reduce or eliminate the addition of inorganic phosphates. At the same time the phytase reduces the amount of phytate in manure and reduces the environmental risk of having excessive amounts of phosphorus in the environment. Especially in areas with intensive livestock production this is an optimal solution", says Kirsten Stær.
Novozymes, Bagsværd, 3900 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

Power production without CO2

"Toward the end of the 1970s a second oil crisis threatened, and Vestas started looking into wind turbines as a potential alternative and clean energy source. Following a year and a half's experiments, Vestas decided on a three-bladed model, which was put into production. It is basically the model we know today", says Svend Sigaard, Managing Director of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

In 2003 Vestas delivered 1369 wind turbines world-wide, corresponding to a total of 1,812 MW installed capacity. In the course of a 20-year lifetime, the 1369 wind turbines will help generate around 95,241,000 MWh of renewable energy. The average electricity consumption of a single Danish household is 3350 kWh, which means that each year of their lifetime the 1369 wind turbines will cover the electricity consumption of 1,422,000 households.

Developing even more efficient wind turbines
But wind turbines offer even greater environmental benefits. The same amount of energy from a coal-fired power plant would have meant that 52,164,000 tonnes of CO2 would have been emitted to the atmosphere. To achieve good environmental and competitive results Vestas is continuously seeking to optimise its wind turbines. To this day, being in the front line of technological innovation has been essential for Vestas.

"Naturally, the greatest technological challenge today is to design more competitive wind turbines which will allow us to reduce the price of one kilowatt hour. This would make the wind turbines even more competitive compared to traditional energy sources. With the combination of Vestas and NEG Micon our development department counts more than 400 highly qualified employees. This means that we now have even better opportunities for maintaining the technological head start essential to our position as the world's leading supplier of wind power systems", says Svend Sigaard.

Wind turbines go offshore
Vestas' new offshoot is so-called offshore wind turbines, placed offshore instead of on land as traditional wind turbines. Vestas is responsible for the world's first offshore wind farm in the North Sea outside Horns Reef off the west coast of Denmark. The wind farm consists of 80 Vestas V80-2.0 MW offshore wind turbines, which generate power corresponding to the total annual electricity consumption of about 150,000 Danish households.

The Horns Reef project has given Vestas extensive experience in offshore work. The success of the project is probably the reason why Vestas has been chosen to supply two more offshore wind farms in England. "We expect there will be a real market for offshore wind farms in the future. Looking ahead five years, we expect offshore wind farms to make up about 10 per cent of new capacity installed," says Svend Sigaard.

Vestas, Randers, 6700 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

Strict eco-requirements pay off

"In northern Europe the requirements for the content of freon (HCFC's and CFC's etc.) and flourinated green house gases (HFC's) in refrigerators and freezers are very strict, and our company is, of course, living up to the standards. Therefore, today we do not use the CFC gases at all. And instead of HFC gases, we are using hydrocarbon gases as the cooling agent in almost half of our products", says Erik Barington, Technical Director at Frigor A/S.

Reducing the greenhouse effect
HFC's replaced the use of CFC's in the insulation materials several years ago, and, subsequently, HFC's have been replaced with hydrocarbons. The original phase-out of CFC was made in order to protect the earth's ozone layer, while the most recent shift aims at reducing the greenhouse effect. Emission of 1 kilo of HFC's to the atmosphere corresponds to CO2 emission of 1.3 tonnes. Emissions of hydrocarbons do not have negative effects on the ozone layer, and, at the same time, only represent negligible emissions of CO2 equivalents.

No more HFC's
"All new development is within the hydrocarbon gases, and to Frigor it is very much a question of keeping competition from Asia at bay. The best way for us to do this is to develop niche products that are either technologically advanced, to a stage where they are not mass-produced in Asia, or so big that it is not economical to transport them all the way from China for instance", says Erik Barington. Frigor's primary markets for the environmentally friendly refrigerators and freezers are Denmark and Germany. As from 1 January 2006, al new refrigerators sold on the Danish market must not contain HFC gases.

Frigor A/S, Viborg, 200 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

'Green Light' all the time

"Our new traffic lights 'Green Light' reduce the consumption of energy of a typical traffic light by approx. 4,000 kWh a year, representing a cost of approx. euro 550 - compromising neither design nor safety", says Poul Nellemose, Managing Director of Technical Traffic Solution TSS.

'Green Light' has revolutionised the Danish traffic-light sector in merely five years, both as regards technology and design. Replacing ordinary bulbs, a series of diodes gives light to the little green and red men. The energy consumption of the diodes is about 8-10 watt per hour, while lights in ordinary traffic signals use 27 watt. Money is also saved on maintenance, because the durability of the diodes is longer.

Safety is essential
Also the safety of 'Green Light' is excellent. The way the diodes are located prevents the so-called phantom light that makes it difficult for drivers to see whether the traffic light is green or red. Phantom light is the culprit behind many accidents, which may be prevented by 'Green Light'.

"When our company started, we knew that we had to find something brand new in order to get a foothold on the Danish market. We put our heads together to come up with a solution where the environment and safety aspects were integrated in the entire process. The outcome was 'Green Light'", says Poul Nellemose. The 'Green Light' is used in 15 cities in Denmark, and latest in the major urban development project Orestaden at Copenhagen, where modern and timeless design has top priority.

Exporting green lights
TTS is Denmark's largest provider, and has also started exporting the products, with agencies in Belgium, the US, Norway and France, and the company expects that France will be the first successful export market for 'Green Light'. "Even if the technology underlying 'Green Light' meets international standards in this field, we wanted to get established on the Danish market first. We have done this now, and are now ready to focus also on export markets", says Poul Nellemose.

Technical Traffic Solution, Odense, 31 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

A better environment all over the world

Danish pump producer Grundfos has worked for a number of years to develop and market pumps and pump systems, where advanced technology combines with high energy efficiency. One of the latest developments in this field is the Grundfos SQFlex, a submersible pump that uses renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy. It gives the opportunity for water supply in remote areas with no local hazardous emissions and no emissions of CO2 in consequence.

The Grundfos SQFlex was designed on the basis of more than 20 years of experience with solar and wind power as well as input from a wide range of customers. The pump is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics, enabling the motor to constantly adapt to the current amount of energy, thus ensuring operational reliability and efficient power consumption.

"SQFlex is a new concept, where large development costs have been incurred. Grundfos, however, holds strong beliefs regarding social responsibility, and therefore looks to contribute to solving important societal problems when possible. We therefore see the investments returning quickly at a social as well as a financial level", says Jens Ove Frederiksen, Product Manager, Water Supply, at Grundfos.

Across hill and dale for clean water
One of the numerous places where the SQFlex pump system has been installed is in the Mafeteng Mountains of Lesotho in southern Africa. Here residents of one particular village needed to trek 1.2 km to fetch water for drinking and cleaning. A Grundfos SQFlex Combi solution recently changed this. Previously, traversing the 600 m of rocks and red sandstone mountainside to the local spring each day to fetch water was an arduous task.

Returning to town entailed climbing the mountainside, only this time lugging the heavy containers of water. Today, the five solar modules and a wind turbine powering the Grundfos SQFlex Combi solution bring fresh water to the residents, enabling them to concentrate on other duties.

Environment and business go hand in hand
"We're constantly endeavouring to develop and improve our products, enabling them to enhance the global environment. Each time we develop a new product, we open up new markets. And this is also what business is about", says Jens Ove Frederiksen.

An annual production of approximately 10 million pump units makes Grundfos one of the world's leading pump manufacturers. In addition to pumps and pump systems, Grundfos develops, produces and sells electric motors and high-technology electronic equipment to make the pumps 'intelligent', increase their capacity and minimise their power consumption.

Grundfos, BjerringbroApprox, 4400 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

Motion controls save 11 per cent of Denmark's electricity consumption

Each year Denmark's largest manufacturer of  electronic solutions, Danfoss Drives at Gråsten, send about 400,000 electronic motion controls - frequency converters - to customers all over the world. One year's production is estimated to save approx. 2 GWh or 11 per cent of the total consumption of electricity in Denmark, or six per cent of Denmark's total CO2 emissions in 2000. In addition, electronic motion control in production saves huge amounts of raw material and markedly improves occupational safety and health conditions.

First mass-production of frequency converters
When Danfoss started production in 1968, they were the first plant to mass-produce frequency converters. Frequency converters provide variable speed of electric motors, ensuring that they are not dependent on 50 Hz only, but may be adjusted according to the need for speed or power.

"Without electronic control the engine would be like a car with its accelerator bolted on the bottom of the car, so that the engine is either running at full speed or turned off, and you will have to control the speed by means of the brakes. It is evident that the resulting fuel consumption is be considerable. A frequency converter allows you to ease the pressure on the accelerator whenever you wish your car just to roll", explains Brand Manager at Danfoss, Finn Märcher.

Development continues
Today, Danfoss is the leading supplier in Europe of frequency converters, and also among the leading suppliers at global level. Two thousand employees are in charge of the development, manufacture, sales and service of frequency converters in more than one hundred countries, half of them are employed in Denmark.

As for computers, the development tends to move towards smaller units with larger capacities. Frequency converters are increasingly designed to be intelligent, capable of monitoring the processes they form part of. They communicate with each other and with central computers and control units, allowing monitoring and trimming of even very complicated equipment.

"When passing on information, the fastest way is always electronic. Therefore, in addition to the 15-40 per cent energy savings that are typically achieved by motion control, this is an obvious tool to automate and make processes more efficient. The information can tell us when materials are moving on the conveyor belt and make sure that the rest of the production is adjusted accordingly", says Finn Märcher.

Danfoss, Nordborg, 17,500 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

100 per cent recycling - and even better

"Only for newspapers and magazines" - this is the text on the containers that we see in almost every Danish backyard. We use them to get rid of old catalogues, advertisements and other printed matter, but much of the material might very well have been there before. At least when the paper comes from Dalum Papir A/S, because the factory manufactures paper based on 100 per cent recycled fibres.

A leading manufacturer
"In the late 1990's we changed our production, basing it primarily on the production of recycled paper, and today we are one of the world's leading manufacturers of white paper with 100 per cent recycled fibres. We have gained a strong foothold on the Danish market, and we are exporting to the other Scandinavian countries, to Germany and to the Benelux", says Energy and Environmental Manager of Dalum Papir, John Tang.

The fact that it is possible to manufacture white paper that can be used for new folders and magazines and not only for newspaper and toilet paper, is due above all to the technological development. New generations of machinery for paper production are currently being introduced on the market, and Dalum Papir has exploited the potential of the machines to develop new types of paper.

Environment has become good business
Generally, the company has been very farsighted, and - by integrating environmental concerns in all stages of production - the environment has become good business. Thus, the 40 per cent production waste is sorted and recycled to create a wide range of products, for instance fertiliser, cement and energy, instead of ending up as waste in landfills. Also the water used during production is cleaned and directed into watercourses and streams.

The products of Dalum Papir carry the Nordic eco-label the Swan, and meet all the criteria set by the Flower. "We have a good business profile that we can use for marketing, because we integrate the environment all along, from fibres to the finished paper product. More and more customers demand that the products they buy must be manufactured with due consideration of the environment, and our paper products give us a competitive advantage", says John Tang.

Dalum Papir A/S, Odense, 300 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

Catalytic converters reduce air pollution

For more than 50 years Haldor Topsøe has been developing catalysts and chemical processes. One of the technologies the enterprise has developed for removing NOx from flue gases by a catalytic process is the SCR DeNOx . The first demonstration units operating on coal-fired boiler sidestream were put into operation in 1987 and today, the enterprise is among the world's largest SCR DeNOx catalyst manufacturers.

"By reaction of the NOx with a carefully controlled amount of ammonia or urea injected into the flue gas and passing the gas over a suitable catalyst, the level of NOx can be reduced by up to 98 per cent, being converted into harmless nitrogen and water vapour", says Sales Manager at Haldor Topsøe Helge Rosenberg.

A wide range of applications
The catalysts are installed, often combined with technology, in a wide range of applications from large coal-fired power plant boilers, to diesel engines and to small refinery heaters. As an example, Haldor Topsøe supplied process technology for Allegheny Energy's two power stations in Harrison and Pleasants, USA, where five SCR DeNOx units were installed on 675 MWe boilers during 2002/2003. During the test run, more than 95 per cent reduction of NOx was achieved. However, also other environmental effects are gained.

"When the catalyst is installed in connection with a waste incineration plant, advantage can be taken of its ability to remove toxic dioxin compounds almost completely", says Helge Rosenberg.
Haldor Topsøe, Lyngby, 1600 employees.
From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005:

Ecolabels give credibility

"For the last five or six years we have really got going with our sales of eco-labelled paints. Painters are asking for products of a high quality, not only during use, but also when it comes to health and the environment.
Therefore the technical staff at our laboratory is constantly working to further develop our water-based paints, ensuring that they are on the forefront of the development of environmental technology".

These are the words of Jesper Hougesen, Product Manager at Beck & Jørgensen, suppliers of building paints for professional painters. The company that was founded in 1892, has been focusing strongly on environmentally friendly products since 1992. A number of the paint products of Beck & Jørgensen are produced along the criteria set for the EU eco-label, the Flower, and the company uses the Flower label actively in its marketing. "The Flower creates credibility. Both for customers and end users. It is one of the strong elements in our marketing, and we are focussing strongly on the environmental performance of our company", says Jesper Hougesen.

APEO replaced with other substances
However, environmental work at Beck & Jørgensen focuses not only the Flower criteria. The company has also been certified according to the environment standard DS/EN ISO 14001, and has replaced raw materials containing the endocrine disrupting APEO (alkylphenol ethoxylates) with other substances in 95 per cent of its paint products.

Beck & Jørgensen expect that, by 2008, alternative substances will have been introduced in the remaining five per cent - and this is one of the environmental targets set by the company. "It takes a lot of work to replace the APEO's, because they are in fact the backbone of the paint. They provide the paint with important properties, such as durability, gloss and flexibility. For instance, when changing the binder of the paint, we must go through all our formulas and change them accordingly - since our paints must have the same high quality as they always have", says Jesper Hougesen.

The initiatives of Beck & Jørgensen have also put pressure on their sub-suppliers in Denmark and abroad. They have been told which environmentally dangerous substances Beck & Jørgensen wish to get rid of. "They know that if they are not able to supply the products we are looking for we will find another supplier", says Jesper Hougesen.
Beck & Jørgensen, Søborg, 80 employees.

From the publication; " Joining Technology, Business & Environment - 10 Danish Enterprises Show the Way ", Danish Ministry of Environment, 2005: