Biotechnology Will Help Meet Demand for Food and Fuel, BIO Says

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 5, 2007) – Biotechnology is helping American farmers continue to supply an economic, environmentally sustainable supply of food and raw material for biofuels, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) said today in response to a recent Earth Policy Institute report.  BIO noted the EPI report underestimates the impact biotechnology will have in increasing yields of both corn and ethanol from corn as well as producing ethanol from cellulose, meeting worldwide demand for both food and fuel.

“Agricultural biotechnology is helping farmers increase corn yields so we can make more ethanol,” stated BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood. “In addition, industrial biotech companies are developing new enzymes that make current ethanol processes more efficient and will soon allow the economical conversion of cellulosic crop residues to fuel. With ongoing advances in biotechnology, biofuels can help America meet nearly half its transportation-fuel needs by the middle of this century.”

BIO’s recently released report, “Achieving Sustainable Production of Agricultural Biomass for Biorefinery Feedstock,” outlines current and future feedstock supply challenges for the biofuel industry and discusses incentives to spur sustainable production, harvest and delivery of agricultural cellulosic biomass. The report shows that corn stover and cereal straw can supply 200 million dry tons of feedstock annually within three to five years, tripling current ethanol from corn production. The report is available http://www.bio.org/ind/biofuel/SustainableBiomassReport.pdf.

“The Earth Policy Institute’s calculations fail to take into account recent developments in the ethanol industry that will ramp up production of ethanol from cellulose,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. “The technology for production of ethanol from cellulose is ready today. With industrial biotech processes ready for deployment and production -- by companies such as Abengoa, Iogen, Broin, Mascoma and others -- and currently available feedstock from agricultural residues such as corn stalks, ethanol production could reach three times current levels within three to five years as ethanol from cellulose is added to the current biofuel technology mix.”

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and 31 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.

Upcoming Events

BIO CEO & Investor Conference
Feb. 12-14, 2007, New York City

2007 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing
March 21-24, 2007, Orlando, FL

BIO International Convention
May 6-9, 2007, Boston, MA

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About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.