ORLANDO, FL. (April 20, 2005) -- “Nearly everyone believes the days of cheap oil are over, and that sooner rather than later we will need a cost-effective, environmentally prudent replacement -- biofuels are one of the few options available today,” said Paul Roberts, author of “The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World,” speaking at the opening lunch of the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing in Orlando, Fla. The conference is hosted by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the American Chemical Society, and the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.
Roberts noted that the political, economic and geological conditions that allowed for decades of $20-per-barrel oil are fast disappearing. “Only three years ago, $50-per-barrel oil seemed like a bad dream. But we can say that oil prices will be higher, and that we will need a cost-effective and environmentally sound replacement.”
BIO President Jim Greenwood, who also serves on the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, said, “Biotech companies have developed a new way to make ethanol from agriculture crop wastes like wheat straw and corn stalks, and this could allow us to produce billions of gallons of transportation fuel, if the federal government does more to help spur investment in this technology.”
Biobased fuels are one of several tracks being discussed at the second annual World Congress, where this year’s registered attendance of 625 surpasses last year’s attendance by 50 percent, according to Brent Erickson, Vice President of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section. Other tracks will cover biological fuel cells, personal care and cosmetics, the nanotechnology-biotechnology interface, and marine biotechnology. “The evidence is clear: industrial biotechnology’s role in energy production and manufacturing is on the upswing, another example of new solutions coming from biotech innovations,” Erickson said. More than 250 companies from the United States and 27 foreign countries are attending.
The entire conference program and schedule can be viewed online at http://www.bio.org/worldcongress/programs/. The list of companies registered to attend the event can be viewed at http://www.bio.org/worldcongress/companies/index.asp.
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.