Web Date: July 23, 2008
Industrial Biotechnology Activity On Rise
Industrial biotechnology is increasingly being adopted by the chemical and liquid biofuel industries because of its potential technical, economic, and environmental advantages, says the International Trade Commission (ITC).
In a fact-finding report requested by Sen. Charles E. (Chuck) Grassley (R-Iowa), ITC says the advantages include process simplification, resulting in potential reductions in manufacturing costs and capital expenditures, and reduced consumption of fossil fuel, both as feedstock and for energy purposes.
Industrial biotech also provides environmental benefits, including sustainable production, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and less waste generation, according to the report.
"U.S. chemical and biofuel companies can keep their competitive edge in the world economy by developing new products from renewable resources; creating cleaner, more sustainable manufacturing processes; and reducing their costs by adopting industrial biotechnology," says Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, an industry trade group.
He says these firms are steadily introducing a range of new products—including plastics, advanced biofuels, and chemicals—made from renewable resources instead of petroleum.
The ITC analysis indicates that biobased products, including pharmaceuticals and biodegradable plastics, account for 70% of the products made with industrial biotechnology, whereas biofuels account for 30%.
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