WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 13, 2007) – Top venture capitalists, corporate leaders and a U.S. Department of Energy official will join experts in industrial biotechnology and biofuels in detailing challenges and opportunities for biofuels production as they deliver keynote speeches at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) announced today. World Congress plenary speakers will examine both the next-generation scientific breakthroughs and the public-private investment policies needed to make large-scale production of biofuels a reality in the United States. The fourth annual World Congress runs March 21-24 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Fla.
“We are extremely excited to welcome a world-class set of experts to serve as our keynoters at this year’s World Congress,” stated Brent Erickson, BIO’s Executive Vice President, Industrial and Environmental. “Attendees will have the opportunity to hear and learn from some of the best and brightest in the area of biofuels and industrial biotechnology as we develop a path to increase large-scale biofuels production in the United States.” BIO is the host of the World Congress.
Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures and Dr. Jens Riese of McKinsey & Co. will address the opening lunch plenary session, “The Role of Venture Capital in Developing Cellulosic Ethanol,” on investment and market opportunities in biofuels and biobased products to be held Thursday March 22. Khosla is the head of Khosla Ventures, a company that actively invests in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas, such as biorefineries for energy and bioplastics, solar, and other environmentally friendly technologies. Riese is a partner at McKinsey & Co., a leading global management consulting firm and is a top expert in industrial biotechnology. He is leader of McKinsey’s industrial biotechnology and biofuels practice and co-leader of McKinsey’s climate change initiative and McKinsey’s global energy and materials practice.
Dr. Jay Keasling will address the lunch plenary session on Friday, March 23. Keasling’s work in synthetic biology recently earned him the title of Discover magazine’s 2006 Scientist of the Year. As director of the Berkeley Center for Synthetic Biology, Keasling’s research seeks to expand the biotechnology process from expressing single proteins within cells to recreating complex chemical processes within engineered organisms. Keasling engineered a yeast into a chemical factory to produce a precursor to artemisinin, the most effective and expensive anti-malarial drug. Since artemisinin is a hydrocarbon, this work has led him into study of the production of biofuels.
Andrew Karsner, Assistant Secretary for Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, will participate in a lunch plenary session titled “What It Will Take to Develop a New Biofuels Infrastructure” on Saturday, March 24. The DOE’s EERE office promotes the development and marketplace integration of renewable and environmentally sound energy technologies. Karsner has been a leader in efforts to commercialize production of ethanol from cellulose and he also leads the DOE’s efforts to carry out the Advanced Energy Initiative, which aims to accelerate breakthroughs in the way we power our cars, homes, and businesses.
Karsner will be joined by Dana Flanders, president of Chevron Technology Ventures; Michael Walsh, senior vice president of the Chicago Climate Exchange; Coleman Jones, Biofuel Implementation Manager, General Motors; and Ed Williams, Founder, Century Harvest Heat.
The focus on biofuels during the World Congress comes as investors, researchers, public officials and energy concerns all have taken an increased interest in alternative forms of motor fuel. As Elizabeth Douglass of the Los Angeles Times recently noted, “Wall Street and private investors have joined the search for new kinds of ethanol, putting unprecedented amounts of money behind companies with promising technologies. Oil giants have rushed in as well, striking deals with universities and firms involved in biofuels.” (“Biofuel push draws inventors and investors,” March 8, http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ethanol8mar08,1,5226807.story?coll=la-headlines-business&track=crosspromo.)
For more program information about the World Congress, visit http://www.bio.org/worldcongress/programs/. The World Congress is hosted by BIO, the American Chemical Society, the National Agricultural Biotechnology Council, the European Federation of Biotechnology, BIOTECanada and EuropaBIO.
Advance media registration for the 2007 World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing is now available online. Registration is complimentary for credentialed members of the news media. To register, please visit http://www.bio.org/worldcongress/media/. Reporters and editors working full-time for print or broadcast news organizations may register onsite with valid media credentials. All freelancers and online publications must register in advance by 5:00 p.m. ET Thursday, March 15, 2007.
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. BIO also produces the annual BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology conference and exhibition. www.bio.org.
Upcoming BIO Events
BIO International Convention
May 6-9, 2007
BIO VentureForum-East 2007
June 18-20, 2007