International Trade Commission Finds Industrial Biotechnology Vital To Future Competitiveness of Chemical and Biofuel Industries

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, July 17, 2008) - Innovative research and development in industrial biotechnology is the key to future productivity and competitiveness for U.S. chemical and biofuels companies. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today applauded the findings of the U.S. International Trade Commission fact-finding report, “Industrial Biotechnology: Development and Adoption by the U.S. Chemical and Biofuel Industries.”

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, said, “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. Industrial biotech companies are steadily introducing a range of new products – including plastics, advanced biofuels, and chemicals – made from renewable resources instead of petroleum. Industrial biotechnology also enables these companies to develop cleaner, environmentally sustainable processes for manufacturing products by reducing use of energy and resources, producing fewer byproducts, and eliminating toxic waste. Reducing environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions, will be a key to maintaining future competitiveness for U.S. chemical and biofuel companies.”

The report finds:

·                    Cellulosic ethanol technologies have been an important focus of research and development and investment in the liquid biofuels industry as firms seek to broaden both the base of feedstocks and the range of biofuels.

·                    Research and development expenditures in biofuels increased 400 percent from 2004 to 2007, reaching $152.5 million, a rate three times conventional R&D spending.

·                    Bio-based products, including pharmaceuticals and biodegradable plastics, account for 70 percent of products made with industrial biotechnology, while biofuels account for 30 percent.

·                    Research and development expenditures for biobased chemicasl were much larger that for biofuels, reaching $3.4 billion.

·                    Industrial biotechnology can benefit the U.S. economy by allowing the substitution of liquid biofuels for conventional liquid fuels, potentially reducing crude petroleum imports; stimulating the development of rural economies as a result of increased agricultural feedstock consumption; and providing environmental benefits, including sustainable production, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and less waste generation.

·                    Industrial biotech can improve process efficiency as compared with conventional processes, resulting in potential reductions in manufacturing costs and capital expenditures, and it can create new products that can compete with conventional products.

Copies of the report may be obtained at http://hotdocs.usitc.gov/docs/pubs/332/pub4020.pdf.

“BIO thanks the U.S. International Trade Commission for completing and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) for requesting the report. We look forward to working with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Grassley on ways to further encourage the adoption of industrial biotech, building on the progress already being made as described in the ITC report,” Erickson concluded.

The “Advanced Biofuels & Climate Change Information Center” presents the latest commentary and data on the environmental and other impacts of biofuel production. Drop in and add your comments, at http://biofuelsandclimate.wordpress.com/.

Upcoming BIO Events

Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
Sept. 10-12, 2008
Vancouver, BC

BIO Investor Forum 2008
October 29-31, 2008
San Francisco, CA

BIO-Europe 2008
November 17-19, 2008
Mannheim/Heidelberg, Germany

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 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.

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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.